Milngavie’s Sheila Erwin celebrates 40 years service at Marks & Spencer

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Milngavie woman Sheila Erwin celebrated 40 years as an M&S employee with a champagne reception in London recently.

Sheila (65) is based at Milngavie Simply Food, but started work in 1973 when clothes rails were filled with flares, platform boots and hippy chic.

Along with 118 other long-serving colleagues from across the UK who, between them, share 3,160 years of experience with the company, Sheila was invited by Marks & Spencer Chief Executive Marc Bolland to attend the champagne and canapés reception at the high street retailer’s London headquarters.

Sheila said: “I’ve always loved my job and so this trip to London was the real icing on the cake for me.

“After 40 wonderful years. My husband Ralph has been an unpaid employee of M&S for the past 40 years – as my chauffeur, dropping me off at work!”

Only 14 other employees were celebrating 40 years’ service, but there were also 104 staff who attended the event to celebrate a quarter century with the company including Neil Clancy from Milngavie Simply Food.

Following the champagne reception Sheila, who attended the event with her husband, took in the bright lights of London and a West End show.

With the help of an exhibition set up from the company archive in Leeds, all of the employees 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: “We’re incredibly proud of our loyal workforce.

“We always enjoy recognising and celebrating important milestones, and events like this when our colleagues achieve 25 and 40 years’ service with M&S is a great way to mark such an occasion.”

And commenting on the dedication of the workforce, Mr Berendji added: “To be raising a glass with well over a hundred staff this year is a real testament to the quality and dedication of our employees.

“Our stores have evolved significantly over the years, but good customer service is, and has always been, central to everything we do at M&S.”

The origins of the Marks and Spencer Long Service Celebration dates 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 part of 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.