Glasgow patrol retires after 48 years

Jim Haggart has rescued more than 87,000 motorists

Jim joined the AA in August 1966 as a 16-year-old cadet

Today (Wednesday 27 August) is the final day at the roadside for the AA's longest-serving patrol, who has rescued more than 86,000 motorists, and driven an estimated 1.4 million miles during the past 48 years.

Jim Haggart, 64, of Eastwood, Glasgow, joined the AA on 22 August 1966 as a 16-year-old cadet.

He joined the AA after he responded to a newspaper advert for an AA cadet scheme.

"It sounded like a good job to me but rather than being called for interview, it was actually my father they wanted to speak to first – I think they wanted to see if I was from 'good stock'!"

Thankfully for Jim, who's always worked in Glasgow, the regional manager based at the AA's former Blythswood Square office saw his potential and Jim joined the association in the days when it was run very much along regimented lines.

One of the first tasks for the fresh-faced cadet was to learn to drive: "I took my test privately the first time and failed spectacularly. The second time, I went out with my old superintendent who was also an examiner – imagine the pressure of having your boss take your driving test!"

In his time, Jim has been behind the wheel of a wide range of AA vehicles. His first was a motorbike – a BSA Bantam - but he never got on a bike again after crashing it. In 1970, he found himself behind the wheel of a Minivan, then an Austin Minor, Morris Marina, Talbot Express, Vauxhall Brava, Volkswagen Transporter (T4) and now he’s driving his second Vauxhall Vivaro.

In 2011, Jim received the AA’s 45-year long service medal, one of his proudest moments with the organisation. 

Jim celebrating 45 years' service, in 2011

Jim celebrating 45 years' service, in 2011

Over his career, Jim has driven an estimated 1.4 million miles – the equivalent of three trips to the moon and back; and has rescued around 87,000 people at the roadside – more than the population of Paisley.

Jim says: "Even though I've pretty much seen it all in my 48 years, the job still surprises me at times.  It's true that there is always something new – problems that make you think: 'I've never come across that before!'  Some of the most challenging can be bespoke vehicles such as kit cars – you have no idea what you're going to find until you lift the bonnet.

"The best part of the job is meeting some lovely people and on a fine day it's hard to beat.

"But like anything, task is what you make of it," he adds.  "If you want to do the job then it will be the easiest and most enjoyable job in the world."

Jim's manager, Graham Coburn, says: "Jim is a brilliant patrol. He is always at the top of the team in terms of performance and he's also one of the all-round nice guys.  He always has an amusing story to tell and he is a fantastic ambassador for the AA.

"We really will miss him.  He is so much a part of the AA's Scottish scene – I speak for all of his colleagues at the AA as well as for myself in wishing him a long and happy retirement."

Jim says that he decided to retire at the same time as his wife, Maureen, who is a librarian.

"We'll take our retirement as it comes," he says.  "But there is a lot we want to do and we'll certainly stay active."


Picture of Jim with his 45 year long service award is copyright PA Wire/Press Association Images

(27 August 2014)


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