East Anglia: Former Ridgeons director Peter Silk dies, aged 90
06:00 12 April 2014
Regional builders’ merchant chain Ridgeons has announced the death of former director Peter Silk, at the age of 90.
Having joined in 1937 at the age of 14, Mr Silk became the company’s longest-serving employee, working full-time for 50 years and then assisting for a further 22 through his support of the Ridgeons long service club.
Mr Silk was initially based at the company’s Hobson Street showroom in Cambridge where, in his junior capacity, he was responsible for keeping the showroom clean and tidy.
Following the end of the Second World War, he returned from service at sea to rejoin colleagues at the Hobson Street site, continuing his employment with the company in a variety of positions.
In 1968 he was appointed general manager and became an executive director, playing an integral role over the next few years in transforming the way in which kitchens, and later bedrooms, were sold. This led to the opening of a dedicated packaged kitchen and bedroom department that opened in 1974
Together with David Ridgeon and Alan Newbury, Mr Silk was also part the team which led the company’s response to a fire which destroyed its Cavendish Road site in Cambridge in December 1984.
In 1987, after 50 years’ service, Mr Silk decided to retire from full-time employment, but this did not mark the end of his connection with Ridgeons.
He continued his service with the company as a committee member of the 25 Club, which recognises the continuous service of full- and part-time employees who have been with the group for more than 25 years. He was also heavily involved in Ridgeons’ Link scheme, a network of former employees who ensure that regular contact is made with retired staff and their widows and widowers.
Gordon Ridgeon, a director at the company, which today has more than 20 branches across Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, said: “Peter was a truly unique individual who played a significant part in shaping the Ridgeons of today.
“He was incredibly loyal, and totally committed and as a company we were fortunate to have benefitted from his extraordinary qualities. Our thoughts are with his family and many friends.”