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"He will truly be missed": Clarkes of Walsham delivery and transport man retires after 51 years

One of the longest-serving staff members at a country store has retired after 51 years.

Wayne Whittaker retired as transport co-ordinator at Clarkes of Walsham Limited, Walsham le Willows, Suffolk, last week.

Mr Whittaker, 66, who lives in Wattisfield, started work at the company at the age of 15, straight from school.

Wayne Whittaker, with staff from Clarkes of Walsham. Picture by Kevin Innes
Wayne Whittaker, with staff from Clarkes of Walsham. Picture by Kevin Innes

After passing his test in a Transit van and later gaining an HGV licence, he became a delivery driver, travelling all across East Anglia and further afield.

In the early 2000s, he became transport coordinator, working in the yard helping with the loading of orders on the company’s fleet of 15 vehicles.

“Clarkes was a lot different when I started and only half the size it is now,” said Mr Whittaker.

Over 50 years there were many changes from the number of buildings to the improvement in the lorries and the growth in the number of staff.

“They are a good bunch of people. There were good times and bad times like any businesses, with things like the recession, and the pandemic, but the good times definitely outnumber the bad.”

Mr Whittaker moved to Wattisfield from Kent as a teenager.

He had just returned from a trip to New Zealand and Australia when the pandemic struck last year and had planned to spend his retirement doing some more global travelling.

“I am not sure we can do that now so we are thinking of doing some travelling around the UK instead,” he

Richard Balls, Clarkes managing director, said: “Wayne has dedicated over 50 years of hard work to Clarkes and made a lasting impact on all of his co-workers.

He will be truly missed.

"On behalf of everyone at Clarkes, I’d like to wish Wayne a wonderful and well-earned retirement and all the best for the future.”

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