Leeds staff raise glass to celebrate 25 years at Marks and Spencer

Five Leeds Marks and Spencer employees have celebrated 25 years in their job with an exclusive champagne reception in London, as a thank you from the retailer for a quarter century of dedicated and enthusiastic customer service.

Julie Brown, Phillip Edwards, Joanne Haigh, Patricia Hughes and Diana Muir from M&S Briggate started work at M&S in 1988 and have seen many changes at their M&S store over the years – including the fashions!

Along with 88 other long-serving colleagues from across the UK who, between them, share more than 2,400 years of experience with the company, the five members of staff were invited by Marks & Spencer Chief Executive Marc Bolland to attend a champagne and canapés reception at the high street retailer’s London headquarters. The team enjoyed the celebratory event, before taking in a West End Show.

Phillip Edwards, deputy store manager at M&S Leeds Briggate and Manager of the M&S Kirkgate Market Stall said:

I’ve always loved my job and so this trip to London was the real icing on the cake after 25 wonderful years.”

Along with 12 employees who were celebrating 40 years’ service, there was also 77 staff who attended the event to celebrate a quarter century with Marks & Spencer. With the help of an exhibition set up by the company archive in Leeds, all of them were able to reminisce about their early days with M&S – from their trusty pencils, paper and mental arithmetic, in the absence of today’s technology, to the very first sales of wine in M&S stores in 1973.

Sacha Berendji, M&S director of retail, said:

M&S has a loyal and often very long-serving workforce, and we’re proud to recognise and celebrate milestone achievements when our employees reach 25 and 40 years’ service with the company.

The number of people celebrating these incredible milestones in their careers is a real testament to the quality and dedication of employees at M&S. Our stores have evolved in the past 25 years, but good customer service is, and has always been, a core value at M&S.

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 years, almost 19,000 employees have celebrated 25 years of service, and over 1,000 employees have worked at the retailer for 40 years.  Last year, for the first time, two employees reached 50 years with the company.

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