An onboard services manager from Lewis, who has served with CalMac for almost half
a century, has hung up his uniform for the last time.
Starting work as a galley boy with David MacBrayne on board the original MV Loch
Seaforth at the age of just 15 in 1967, Finlay Smith from Great Bernera has retired
after 49 years.
Finlay, who still lives on Bernera, progressed to assistant pantry boy, before spending
a number of years as second cook, also covering for the chief cook when required.
In 1985, he became the first second steward to serve on the brand new MV Hebridean
Isles when she joined the fleet. His last job with the company was as onboard service
manager on MV Hebrides, as she plied her route on the Uig-Lochmaddy-Tarbert triangle,
where he was a familiar and popular member of crew.
“My highlight in all those years has been the people I’ve met,” said Finlay. “Both
passengers and crew alike. I have seen so many changes in the near half century I’ve
been part of David MacBrayne and then CalMac, but one thing that has always remained
the same is the coming and going of staff and customers – either getting to know
people or just passing time with them.
“The way we work has also changed enormously. The one and only interview I’ve ever
had with the company was in 2005 when I applied for the onboard services manager
position – that was quite strange after 38 years, but it’s just the way things are.”
One of the company’s longest serving staff members, the 65-year-old is now looking
forward to spending more time on his croft looking after his flock of sheep.
“Finlay will be greatly missed,” said retail development manager Donald MacKillop.
“He had seen so much during his time with the company and amassed so much invaluable
knowledge, he’ll be an impossible act to follow.
“He was an enormously popular member of our staff, both with his fellow crew members
and the customers, and he always had some great tales to tell. I wish him all the
very best for his retirement.”
Ferryman retires after nearly half a century with CalMac
23 January 2017
Donald MacKillop presents Finlay Smith with a picture of the old MV Hebrides