Margaret Thatcher was just 11 days into her premiership on May 15 1979 when 18-year-old Gaetan Rene started working at what was then known as Lynes Plant Hire in King’s Cross, London.

Four-and-a-half decades on and Rene, now 63, is Plant Hire Supervisor at the heating, plumbing and air movement materials supplier – and still loving his work.

He explained: “When I left school, I was set on working in a garage and did a car mechanics course. I couldn’t find an opening though, so I ended up at the Job Centre and was put in touch with Colin Lynes, who owned Lynes Plant Hire.

“I was offered £45 per week to start straight away and I bit his hand off! Plant hire was a booming industry at the time and growing at pace.

“I certainly didn’t expect to still be at the business 45 years later, but it has been an excellent company to work for and it has been a huge part of my life.”

Rene started out in the repair department, specialising in diesel powered machines.

The father-of-four said he has grown up with many of his fellow long-serving colleagues at TG Lynes.

“It’s always felt like a family,” he said. “In the beginning, King’s Cross was absolutely buzzing and we were often out together in the pubs and restaurants. Even on the weekends, we were regularly round each other’s houses.

“When I was married in 1982, Colin Lynes attended our wedding.

“There are quite a few of us who have been with the business for many years. People like Joe Kane (Sales Director) has been part of my life for more than 20 years.”

Rene said the industry has changed considerably since 1979 but he is pleased to see TG Lynes’ renewed emphasis on its plant hire offering.

He said: “There have been many transitions and ups and downs over the years. The business is much bigger and more structured now, but you have to accept change and I’ve always valued my work.

“People come and go and I’ve always enjoyed training the new people joining the team.

“Over the last couple of years there has been considerable growth and investment in plant hire at TG Lynes and that's been great to see.”

Andrew Ingram, Managing Director at TG Lynes, said: “Gaetan has been an important part of the team for such a long period of time. He brings a huge wealth of knowledge and experience to the plant hire team, as well his brilliant personality. We’re fortunate to have him in the business.

“We have a number of colleagues who have been with us for more than 20 years – and that is testament to the value we put on our people and the way we treat them.”