LURGAN man Harry McCullough started work as an apprentice three days after he left school.
Now, having worked for the civil service for the past 39 years, he’s been awarded an MBE for his efforts.
Of his MBE award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours Harry said: “I found out on April 27, so that was quite a period of time to keep this a secret. The only person that knew about it was my wife.
“When the list was published the calls and texts and emails came in thick and fast.
“I couldn’t even begin to express my delight at this honour.
“I’d never have thought I’d have ever got an award like this.”
Harry grew up in Queen Street and went to Lurgan Boys’ Junior High School. He left the school on Friday, March 26, 1965 and the following Monday he began working as an apprentice at the Optical factory.
At 25 Harry moved into the training centre network as an instructor in engineering and in June 1986 he was made chief instructor of the workshop in Lisburn.
He was promoted again in 1989 to senior instructional officer and in 1997 he moved back to Lisburn as operational manager.
His work saw him go on business trips to both Seoul in South Korea and Lagos in Nigeria.
He commented: “My 27 years in the training centre network was tremendous.
“It gave me great job satisfaction to help young people and adults with a trade background get into work.
“Meeting them again in subsequent years and finding out how they were getting on was very heartwarming.”
Harry left the training centre network and made the move into Further Education Division, where he is now the Deputy Principal Officer within the Department of Employment and Learning in regulation of qualifications.
He commented: “I’ve enjoyed every minute of work. It’s a very rewarding job.”
Harry will celebrate his 39th wedding anniversary with Helen on July 4.
They live in Pine’s Court in Lurgan and have two children - Jonathan and Joanna.