FRANK Nelson has seen a lot of cars during a career at Land Rover spanning 36 years and this week the mechanical fitter was honoured at an event marking the production of the millionth Discovery model.
The 53-year-old, from Hollywood, is the longest serving Discovery employee, joining the Lode Lane site as a trainee in 1976 before moving to Longbridge and finally back to Solihull.
Along with JLR Apprentice of the Year, Stephen Mason, Frank was the guest of honour at a star-studded reception in Solihull on Wednesday.
The event also saw the launch of the car marque’s charity expedition from Birmingham to Bejiing - which will see a Discovery cover 8,000 miles in 50 days.
Frank, a married father-of-one recalled his early days at Land Rover: “I had just turned 17 and did a two year training course and then started as a mechanical fitter.
“I love it and I hope to stay here until I retire.”
VIP explorers, who have all used the famous 4x4 during their adventures, were also in attendance; among them Bear Grylls, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Ray Mears.
Intrepid Bear told us: “The Land Rover is synonymous with adventure and I have been lucky to use it all over the world.
“And if you fancy being an explorer there are two things - smile even if it’s raining and never, ever give up - it’s the heart of survival.”
l Find out how our reporter fared taking 4x4s off-road, turn to page 45.