Accountancy staff add up to 240 years of service

Brian Simmons, Joyce Freeman, Brian Tait, Anthony Hogg, Derek Simpson, Tommy Wilson.
Brian Simmons, Joyce Freeman, Brian Tait, Anthony Hogg, Derek Simpson, Tommy Wilson.

Greaves West and Ayre is celebrating the long service of six much-valued members of staff who have been with the firm a total of 240 years.

All of them have spent their entire working careers at the Berwick offices of the chartered accountant, part of an organisation with a clear vision of the Ayre family, now in their fourth generation.

Anthony Hogg started work in farm accounts in October 1976 and is now senior farm accounts manager.

He said: “There is an ethos of mutual respect which has survived as the number of employees has grown.”

The longest serving member of staff, VAT manager Joyce Freeman, who started in 1971 aged 17, reminisces: “I applied in the summer holidays after school finished and was delighted when my application and rather scary interview with much-revered partner the late Gordon Ayre resulted in a job.”

Derek Simpson said: “The things I remember mainly involve the friendships and feelings of fellowship rather than any specific events. Everybody pretty much gets on with each other even if they don’t meet up outside work.”

In the early days, new employees were not allowed an automatic adding machine for two years as they had to prove that they could count first. Now all rely on Excel.

Brian Simmons commented: “While I miss the satisfaction of mentally adding a list of figures, Excel does make everything so much quicker and easier.

“Technological changes have improved the ease of producing everything including time-sheets and have also enhanced the amount of different services that we now provide such as IT support.”

Brian Tait added: “There is massive mutual respect throughout the firm and while the younger folk may think we are a bit old school in our work style, they make us feel respected for our experience, and actually the firm is old school deep down in all the best ways while managing to be forward-looking for its clients.”