Back to the future for retired toolmaker

A MESSAGE sent in hope to “someone with a kind heart” ended with a VIP tour of one of the region’s best known manufacturers for an elderly cancer patient.

Komatsu UK rolled out the red carpet to welcome Jackie Scott to its Birtley plant, providing him with a guided tour of the factory and a test drive in one of the company’s state of the art excavators, following a heartfelt request from his daughter in law Jane.

Jackie, 85, has been undergoing intensive treatment for a lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that attacks blood cells, and his family thought a visit to the plant would not only lift his spirits, but also provide him with a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

“I just asked for “someone with a kind heart” and I was put through to Jackie Lowe in the human resources department,” said Jane, a school finance officer. “I explained that my father had worked at the plant prior to Komatsu being established and now lived in a flat overlooking the entrance to the factory, where he is never happier than when he’s watching the comings and goings at Komatsu.”

A visit was immediately arranged by Komatsu UK Public Relations Officer, John Lawson, who, along with Jackie Lowe, welcomed Jackie Scott, his son John and Jane to the plant.

“We wanted to make it a special day for Jackie,” said John Lawson. “Jane told us how ill he had been and how invasive the treatment he had been receiving was, so we thought that it was time he had something to look forward to.

“We arranged the visit with his son and daughter and gave Jackie a full presentation on the the global Komatsu group before taking him down to the production line, paint shop, through welding and assembly and onto the demonstration ground, where we let him test drive one of our excavators.”
Caption: John and Jackie Scott, Komatsu’s Jackie Lowe and Jane Scott during the visit to the plant.

Jackie recalled parts of the factory from his youth as well as marvelling at the cutting edge equipment and techniques employed across Komatsu UK.

“I see so much of the factory, I should work for their security team!” joked Jackie Scott, whose armchair is positioned by his window, from where he can see the Komatsu plant.

“It’s great watching the machines rolling out of the factory and the lorries coming and going. I’ve always wondered what it must be like in there and how different it must be from when I worked there.”

Jackie worked as a toolmaker and fitter for the former site owners for 17 years before his retirement. 

Birtley born and bred, Jackie said he loved every minute of the experience. Jane added: “Quite often we’ll come to visit dad and all he’ll talk about is Komatsu. How many trucks have gone in, how many have come out and how the shifts have just changed…he enjoys it better than TV!

“For the staff at Komatsu to take the time out of their schedules to create such a special day is incredible and was a real tonic for dad. We are all so grateful to them for providing such a fantastic experience for him.”

And Jackie also had some positive news on his last visit to the oncologist, with an improvement in his blood tests and positive weight gain.

His son, John Scott added: “My dad’s had a rough ride of late, but it was great to see him really enjoying himself when we went around Komatsu. We can’t thank them enough for making it such a memorable day.”


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Factory Tour
The Komatsu UK Assembly line
Komatsu UK Ltd. is a major production facility for construction and mining equipment in the Komatsu group. Located in Birtley (UK), near Newcastle in North East England, Komatsu UK proudly provides high quality and reliable products. Komatsu UK currently employs approx. 400 staff and has an extensive product portfolio, featuring 17 models. It currently exports mainly to Europe and North Africa.