A MEMORIAL bench has been placed in Gainsborough’s Marshall’s Yard in honour of a popular local businessman and his partners.
Michael Proulx passed away in Janary 2010 and was the last surviving partner of Nettleham Engineering Co. Ltd - the former owners of Britannia Works, the current site of Marshall’s Yard.
His fellow partners Enzo Battistuzzi, Charlie Winternitz and David Walker are also commemorated on the bench and plaque.
Dozens of local residents turned out at the unveiling ceremony, some of whom were old friends or family and others were amongst the hundred that Michael employed.
“It means a lot to see so many of the former staff turn out,” said Michael’s widow Eileen at the ceremony.
“It’s a tribute to the hard work that Michael and his partners did over the years and it’s also a sign for the future as Gainsborough grows.”
“This shows that we remember our history, and Michael and his partners would have been very proud to see how Marshall’s Yard has developed.”
Eileen added: “It’s a real sign of respect for everything they have done for so many people over the years.”
Eileen’s son Michael Hatfield, who is also assistant principal at Trent Valley Academy added: “As someone who has lived in Gainsborough for all of my life, I am one of the many people who remember when this used to be one of the biggest employers in Gainsborough and they used to have to close the road when the workers left on their bikes.”
“Now after helping to make Gainsborough something truly special, that history can be remembered as a part of a flagship piece of Gainsborough’s future.”
The bench came about thanks to David Bell who was Michael’s friend and colleage for many years and was involved in purchasing the property from him in order to make way for Marshall’s Yard.
“We just wanted to commemorate the life and work of the four original owners of Nettleham Engineering and I’m sure they would be thrilled and proud if they had lived to see the future of Marshall’s.”
He added: “This is a wonderful site and I’m amazed that my relationship with Mike has resulted in all of this.”
Kevin Gibbon was a tenant at the site from 1984 until 1998 and worked with Michael for many years.
“Marshall’s Yard now is just a wonderful place and I am so pleased that they have kept a sense of heritage,” he said.
“Michael and David were true gentleman and they were always very pro-Gainsborough so it’s fitting that this has been put here for us to remember their hard work and dedication.”