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Thames Water sewer “legends” retire after combined 75 years’ service

Friday 3rd September 2021 10:09

Stuart Morton and Dave Theobald stand against a wall

L-R Stuart Morton and Dave Theobald

Two technicians from the same London sewer team have retired after a combined total of 75 years with Thames Water. 

Dave Theobald and Stuart Morton worked in the South London waste networks team, helping to keep the capital’s 20,000 miles of sewers flowing for millions of customers.  

Dave, 64, from Headcorn, first joined Thames Water in 1980, four days before the birth of his second son, as an inspector in clean water, in a career that spanned eight different roles across both clean and wastewater. 

In his final role as field services manager, Dave led a team operating and maintaining the vast sewer network, much of which dates back 150 years to Victorian times.   

To combat the pressure on the ageing network from climate change and population growth, Thames Water is investing heavily across London, including over £4 billion on the Thames Tideway Tunnel.  

Dave said: “At the end of the day, operations on the front line has always been about the customers. I’ve spent my career on the front lines dealing with customers’ problems and my philosophy has always been to deliver a fantastic customer service.” 

After clocking up an impressive 41 years with the company, Dave now plans to enjoy his retirement by travelling to Bulgaria, Indonesia and Bali. With two sons and four grandkids, he also hopes to spend more time with his family and fishing in carp lakes.  

After spending a total of 13 years working with Dave, Stuart has also retired having served the company for 34 years.  

Stuart, also 64, from Kent, joined the water company in 1987 as a finance clerk and has served in seven different roles in wastewater, eventually settling as field operations specialist, monitoring planned maintenance to the company’s vast sewer network. 

Stuart said: “When I joined the company, I expected to stay five years max as I didn’t see myself as someone who could stay in one place. Thames Water was a refreshing experience as they have been very fair in their treatment of individual workers, and they just feel like a company that cares.” 

Now he’s retired, Stuart plans to move from his home in Kent to East Anglia, where he hopes to restart his artistic interests in painting and pottery and brush up on his Spanish and Italian. He and his wife are also both members of the Citroen car club and hope to visit more shows.  

Ashley Book, regional network manager for South London waste network, said: “Dave and Stuart have both had unbelievable careers at Thames Water and both will be sorely missed by everyone in the team. 

“Dave’s experience and personality are irreplaceable, and he is a true Thames Water legend. Stuart has lived and breathed our values and he will leave a big hole in the team, but I know he has plenty of plans to keep himself busy. I’d like to thank them both for their hard work over many years of service.” 

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