Saturday 3 December 2016

Award handed to AA patrolman Jim

Published 22/08/2011 | 00:11

AA patrolman Jim Haggart (left) pictured when he was an AA cadet more than 40 years ago
AA patrolman Jim Haggart (left) pictured when he was an AA cadet more than 40 years ago
AA patrolman Jim Haggart has rescued around 80,000 motorists during his 45-year career with the organisation

An AA patrolman who has rescued around 80,000 motorists during his career is marking 45 years with the organisation.

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Jim Haggart, 60, from Glasgow, is the AA's longest serving patrolman in the UK, having joined its cadet scheme in his teens.

The grandfather estimates he has rescued 1,500 to 2,000 people a year since he began his career.

After more than four decades on the job he still enjoys helping people stranded everywhere from side streets to snowy motorway hard shoulders and has no plans to retire as yet, saying his body will tell him when it is time to stop working, but he has not ruled out the prospect of reaching 50 years' service.

He said: "If I do on average maybe eight jobs a shift I get to help eight different people with their particular problem, which is nice. It's nice to be able to get a car going and see the satisfaction on people's faces when they drive away.

"When I started out I never ever thought I'd be 45 years by now. I get more of a kick watching people's faces when they ask me how long I've been with the AA. To me it's just a number, I enjoy the job and the years just go by. but it's the reaction on people's faces when I tell them 45 years. They either look at you as if 'well done' or as if 'you're absolutely mad'."

Mr Haggart left school at 15 and worked as an office boy and an electrician's apprentice before spotting a newspaper advert for an AA cadet scheme. He was tempted to apply because he had always been fascinated by cars.

Over the years he has driven a range of AA vehicles, including a BSA Bantam motorbike, an Austin Minor and a Morris Marina. His current work vehicle is a Vauxhall Vivaro in which he responds to calls within a 60-mile radius of Glasgow. The main change he has seen over the decades has been the move from mechanical to diagnostic work using computers to work out what is wrong with a vehicle.

As a reward for his dedication, his bosses have given him gift vouchers, an extra 10 days' annual leave and a specially commissioned service award.

His manager Graham Coburn said: "Jim is a brilliant patrol. He is always at the top of the team in performance and he's also one of the all-round nice guys who has a funny story for every occasion. Our patrols like to say they fix the member first, then the car, and Jim epitomises this spirit. He's a fantastic ambassador and we're very proud of his achievement today."

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