Temporary Christmas worker stayed at Luton store for 40 years

Jan Hillyard marks 40 years at Marks and Spencer in Luton
Jan Hillyard marks 40 years at Marks and Spencer in Luton

Four people are being honoured for their long service at The Mall Luton, where they have more worked for than 130 years between them.

Jan Hillyard, who has been working at Marks and Spencer for 40 years, is currently the section manager of three departments including men’s and kids clothing, and the customer service department.

Jan, who started her career in 1978 as a customer assistant, said: “It was only supposed to be a temporary Christmas job, but I enjoyed it so much I stayed around for the next 40 years!”

During that time Jan met a member of the founding family at Marks and Spencer, Lord Sieff of Brompton, chairman of Marks and Spencer from 1972 – 1982.

Jan will be taking her well-earned retirement in November this year and added: “I have loved every minute at Marks and Spencer and would like to thank both staff and customers who have contributed to my wonderful time here.”

Staff at Don Millers, an independent bakery located just outside The Mall, have also been celebrating their career milestones.

Mark Richards, owner of Don Millers, last year celebrated 30 years since opening the local bakery in 1987. Alongside Mark, Dot Chick is also celebrating her 25th year there.

Mark said: “I can’t quite believe how quickly time flies and it’s great to be able to celebrate these milestones alongside Dot. I can’t thank Dot enough for her hard work at Don Millers and it’s been a real pleasure to see the bakery flourish over the years.”

The Mall Luton’s own tenant liaison officer, Val Murray, also recently celebrated her 35th anniversary with the shopping centre earlier. Val started her career as a customer service adviser, before taking the role of customer service manager and later tenant liaison officer.

Val said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my 35 years here at The Mall and I’d like to thank both the staff and the local community for making my time so special.”

Lavinia Douglass, marketing manager at The Mall, said: “It’s great to see staff both from stores at The Mall and from within the centre itself celebrate their long service. It’s a real milestone to achieve over 130 years’ of service between just four of them, and we would like to thank Jan, Val, Mark and Dot for their commitment and dedication over the years.

“We are very proud of our local workers for their loyalty and they continue to be fantastic assets to The Mall and within the community. We would like to especially extend our congratulations to Jan, who will be leaving us in November this year for a well-earned retirement!”