Roger’s farewell after 48 years

Colleagues mark `great achievement’

IPSWICH: One of the Co-op movement’s unsung heroes has retired after 48 years’ service.

Roger Hudson is one of the faces which the customers never see, but without whom the retail operation in the region could not have functioned effectively.

Starting work as an apprentice carpenter and joiner to the Ipswich Industrial Co-Op in July 1962 in Waterworks Street, Roger has retired as maintenance manager for the East of England Co-Operative Society based at their new premises in Boss Hall Road.

“On that first day, I was the first person to turn up at the gates, with the apron and tools my dad had given me,” he recalls.

“My first job was to make my `apprentice piece’ – my own tool box with mallets and templates, which I still have at home today.

“In those days, everything was made in-house by a team of joiners with belt-driven machinery. Even the shelves for the stores were crafted from oak.”

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Over the years, Roger has worked his way up from apprentice to carpenter, charge hand, site foreman, and supervisor to maintenance manager with responsibility for the Society’s team of carpenters, labourers and gardeners across East Anglia.

Among the many incidents he has responded to over the years was a fire in the bags and cases department of the Carr Street department store in Ipswich, a major flood when the sprinkler system went off on the top floor of Carr Street and water trickled down across all floors, and a flood at the Halstead store in Essex.

During this time, the maintenance department moved from Waterworks Street to Suffolk Road, where is was based from 1972 until November last year.

Ipswich born and bred, Roger is looking forward to spending more time with his mum and dad, his wife Julia, and their two children, as well as catching up on some projects at their Felixstowe Road home.

Friends and colleagues from across the Society gathered at Boss Hall Road to wish him well and hear tributes from Richard Samson, the chief executive of the Society, and John Tucker, the building services controller.

Mr Samson said: “To reach nearly 48 years’ service is a great achievement and we thank Roger for his commitment to the Society.”

n Are you due to retire after a long career? Write to the newsdesk at 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.