AN ENGINEERING success story run by the same family for 50 years celebrates half a century of business this year.

Jason Hydraulics, a Witney-based hydraulic equipment supplier, opened its doors in 1968 and continues to produce 55,000 components each year.

Last month, staff enjoyed a week of celebrations leading up to the official anniversary on July 9, including a quiz, tea party and trip to Alton Towers.

Chairman Fred Edwards, 76, set up the business alongside late wife Judith five decades ago, while his son Conrad is managing director and daughter Sarah is company secretary.

The family connection does not stop there, with Janine Edwards, Conrad’s wife, business manager of more than 20 years.

Mrs Edwards was delighted to present employees with gifts as part of the celebrations and dedicated the milestone to the firm’s founder.

She said: “Fred is quite a nostalgic person in that he’s very proud of how things have evolved.

“He’s very good at holding back visible emotion but I think he was very pleased to see everyone receive these gifts.

“He’s not lost his passion at 76 and I think if he could be here every day he would.”

Staff received hampers at a company tea party on July 5 complete with balloons and cakes, while employees took part in a 1968-themed quiz.

They were treated to a day out at Alton Towers two days later, although their exertions meant celebrations on the Monday were relatively muted.

Jason Hydraulics says it has taken a 'no-nonsense' approach from the beginning, with Judith Edwards looking after the business’s deliveries and accounts even while pregnant.

The company founder’s late wife passed this work ethic to son Conrad who, after completing an engineering apprenticeship, has worked his way up to managing director over 30 years with the firm.

Several of the company’s 40-strong workforce have been with Jason Hydraulics for years themselves and almost all hail from West Oxfordshire.

The supplier is one of the few engineering businesses remaining in Witney and Mrs Edwards believes the close-knit community has contributed to its longevity.

She said: “It’s a family environment as everyone knows everyone.

“We’ve taken local boys from school who have now been with us 15 or 20 years.

“We can’t give the same benefits of those larger organisations but I think we’ve got the emotional pull.

“We haven’t had to make any redundancies since the economic crash of the 1990s.”

Components produced by Jason Hydraulics go all over the world, with some travelling as far as the Sydney Opera House.

The company continues to thrive to this day and Mrs Edwards predicts the same attitude will lead to many more years of success.

She said: “We’ve been very cautious over the years by only investing when we can afford it.

“We’re certainly not resting on our laurels at 50.”