Retiring after four decades of service

IPSWICH: For more than four decades Ann Pike has served communities across town, a friendly face welcoming customers with a smile.But the East of England Co-operative Society has finally had to say goodbye to one of their longest serving employees.

IPSWICH: For more than four decades Ann Pike has served communities across town, a friendly face welcoming customers with a smile.

But the East of England Co-operative Society has finally had to say goodbye to one of their longest serving employees.

The 72-year-old, from Sproughton, has hung up her uniform for the last time, and is now looking forward to her retirement.

In the 42 years she has worked for the East of England Co-op, Mrs Pike has seen the stores transformed, as new technology revolutionised her role.

She said when she first started at the Whitehouse Road store in 1967, every item had to be manually priced by staff, long before bar codes and modern tills were introduced.

From check-out operator, Mrs Pike worked her way up to store manager at her first shop, and in her long career she has also managed stores in Camden Road, Garrick Way and Barham, before returning to Whitehouse as relief manager

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and finally moving on to Meredith Road.

With eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren to keep her busy, Mrs Pike is looking forward to spending time with her husband Ray, who also worked for the company.

“I have just enjoyed it all really,” she said on her final day last Friday. I've had a really good 42 years, I've always been happy at the Co-op. All in all I've really enjoyed it.

“I am really going to miss the girls here, and the companionship.

“Over the years so many things have changed. We have tills in the shop now, it is much better.

“We used to have to price everything by hand, everything in the whole store.

“It's so much quicker now.”

Mrs Pike and husband Ray will be heading off for a well-earned break at their caravan in Great Yarmouth once the weather improves.

Andy Moore, food retail and pharmacy controller, paid tribute to her loyal service.

“Ann has given the society a lifetime of service and we wish Ann and Ray a long, happy and healthy retirement,” he said.