The Bay City Rollers were topping the charts, Sir Edward Heath was Prime Minister and Mastermind aired on TV for the first time in the month that Jeff Bennett started his career in the water industry. 


Now, Jeff has had his 50th anniversary celebrated at a special event held by Northumbrian Water.


Jeff, who lives in Silksworth, joined Sunderland Council in September 1972, where he worked in the sewerage department, carrying out a variety of different work on the area’s sewers.


Transferring to Northumbrian Water in 1999, Jeff continued his career and has moved through a number of roles in wastewater teams, currently working in the misconnections team. In this role, he carries out surveys to help people ensure their plumbing is correctly connected to the sewers, playing an important role in protecting the environment.


Sunderland AFC supporter Jeff is also a keen fan of cricket and a former player for Ryhope Cricket Club.


His son, Nathan, is set to continue the connection with the water industry, having also joined Northumbrian Water, where he works in the same team as his dad, as a Sewerage Maintenance Operative.


Jeff said: “The years have been marked by changes in the technology and the tools we have used to do our jobs, from odds and ends to computers and phones, but it’s amazing how fast the 50 years have flown by. It certainly doesn’t feel anything like that.


“My wife, Jackie and I had a great day celebrating with colleagues from across the business, and my son works with me now, so the anniversary is something we can really mark as a family.”


Jeff’s 50th anniversary was celebrated as the company recognised 35 colleagues who passed long service milestones in 2022. The lunch was also a chance to thank 12 people who retired from Northumbrian Water last year, with those being recognised at the event having served a massive 1,205 years in total.