End of an era for shop worker Brian

FIFTY years ago 15-year-old Brian Stopher proudly got ready for his very first job.It was the year of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation but as she now celebrates her jubilee, Brian, a well known face at Martin &Newby is bowing out and retiring.

FIFTY years ago 15-year-old Brian Stopher proudly got ready for his very first job.

It was the year of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation but as she now celebrates her jubilee, Brian, a well known face at Martin &Newby is bowing out and retiring.

Today marks the start of his retirement from the Ipswich firm that has been a feature of the town since 1874.

Over the decades the firm has expanded and changed but to Brian the same friendly atmosphere that has been there since day one has remained.


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He started off as an apprentice electrician working in the cellar of the original premises which now makes up just the iron mongers section of the shop.

Gradually he worked his way up to become manager of the electrics showroom.

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But his talents were not just used for the shop and the electricians used to do contract work – one of his first such jobs was to wire up Helmingham Hall for its first taste of electricity.

Co-incidentally he believes that the Hall is being re-wired this year, updating the very wiring he himself put in.

Since Brian started at the store it has expanded, taking over what used to be the well-known Fox's newsagent and the former Bull Public House which is now the tool department.

The electric show room where he has just retired from, used to be Ellis Fruits.

Brian, 65, from Wincanton Close said: "It is totally different now to how it was when I started.

"There used to be seven electricians and three apprentices – now there are just three electricians.

"I have always been happy here, I enjoyed the work, always been treated very well and there has never been any problems."

Longevity seems to be something of a feature at the shop.

Last month Dave Mullett retired after 39 years, last year Derek Hines retired after 55 years and next year Gerald Marjoram is due to retire after 49 years.

Between the four of them they will have clocked up a whopping 193 years service!

Even their products like to hang around and two years ago, the Star revealed a light bulb that had reportedly been in operation for around 80 years.

Brian is not going back to work part time during his retirement as some people do and said that would take some getting used to.

He said: "After all these years I have got to know a lot of the customers.

"The wrench will really be not seeing the hundreds of people that have come in here over the years and know me by name."

As well as being well known in the shop, Brian was also former chairman of the Ipswich and District Electricians Association during 1991- 1992 and was also the first associate member of the British Korean Veterans Association.

He was unable to do his National Service because of a bad motorcycle accident when he was 19 but the association made him an associate member.

Brian has got a few things planned for his retirement, such as the odd round of golf and maybe popping off to Felixstowe with wife Diane.

His plans to spend time in his beach hut however have now had to be changed after vandals burned it down a couple of months ago.

However the Mediterranean Cruise planned in a few months time should certainly make up for that!

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