Celebrations were in full flow in London as Marks & Spencer Milton Keynes employees, Hazel and Mick Vidler, marked 76 years of combined service with the company at the retailer’s Long Service Celebrations.
The husband and wife duo joined 392 M&S colleagues from across the UK as they were rewarded for 40 or 25 years of service. Together they impressively represented more than 10,000 years serving M&S customers.
As well as enjoying a champagne reception and a West End show with M&S Chief Executive Marc Bolland, Hazel and Mick both received an M&S Gift Card as a thank-you for their commitment to the company.
Hazel, who celebrated 40 years of service, started her career at M&S Marble Arch in 1972, aged 20, when she undertook three months of training before working on the shop floor as a sales assistant. For the past two decades she has worked at M&S Milton Keynes alongside husband Mick.
Hazel, who retired in March, said: “Working for M&S has been very rewarding. When I first accepted the job I never thought I’d be here for 40 years, but M&S has been a great company to work for and has been so good to me over the years.
“I had wanted to work for M&S since I was very young. There was a branch in Tooting, where I lived, and I remember one of the staff there celebrating 25 years’ service. She was always so happy and really enjoyed her job – I kept thinking what a fantastic company to work for, and I was right.”
It was Hazel’s love of the company that encouraged Mick, then aged 28, to apply to work for M&S. A barge builder by trade, Mick joined what became the family company – not only working with his wife but also taking after his mother, who worked for M&S before and after the Second World War.
Mick started his career at M&S Pantheon on Oxford Street, London, subsequently working at the M&S Dunstable warehouse and then at M&S Milton Keynes for 20 years.
Mick said: “I have loved every minute of working for M&S. One of my lasting memories is from my first week, when I was doing night watch at M&S Pantheon. There was a knock at the door and it was Baron Marcus Sieff, the M&S chairman. He was doing a spot-check, but he wasn’t carrying ID so we didn’t let him in. The next day I was congratulated as I had carried out my duties properly, so it was a good start.
“Since then both Hazel and myself have had two letters of commendation each, which makes us very proud.”
Steve Rowe, Director of Retail M&S, said: “At Marks & Spencer we are lucky to have so many employees who care deeply about the company and work continually to ensure that our customers receive first class service.
“The number of people celebrating long service this year is testament to the quality of employees at M&S and the opportunities they’ve been able to find here during their careers.
“These awards are our way of showing our appreciation for all the hard work M&S employees put in and we are delighted to celebrate this special occasion with Hazel and Mick.”
The origins of the M&S Long Service Celebration date back to 1918, when an employee was awarded a gold watch for 25 years’ loyal service to the company. Since then the awards have become an established Marks & Spencer tradition. Over the past half-century, over 19,000 staff with 25 years’ service and 1,893 with 40 years’ service have been rewarded for their loyalty.