Chris Freemantle has just retired from Wightlink after 44 years, four months and four days as a crewman on the car ferries that connect the Isle of Wight with the mainland.
He has spent the past 33 years as a member of the Portsmouth-Fishbourne night crew – clocking up 8,000 trips and 50,400 miles – sailing the equivalent of more than twice around the world.
“I shall miss the sunrises over the Solent and the companionship of my colleagues,” says Chris who is looking forward to spending his retirement travelling with his family and spending more time with his grandchildren.
Chris, who lives in Southsea, started his career at Sealink British Ferries (which became Wightlink) on 13 January 1975 after brief spells as a telegram boy and apprentice plumber. Over the next 44 years, he served on 19 different ships.
Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield and Operations Director Daryl Palmer joined Chris in Portsmouth before his final sailing to wish him well and present him with a certificate to mark his achievement.
“We are fortunate to have many colleagues who have loyally served Wightlink for many years. I am proud of their hard work, commitment to safety and dedication in serving our customers. Chris will be much missed by us all, but we hope he enjoys his retirement and will return now and again to sail to the Isle of Wight with Wightlink,” says Keith.