Memories...

Chris recalls his time at Down Grange Dairy and other Job's Depots and flying solo across the Atlantic...



Dear Editor,

What a fascinating discovery the Job's site is. John Mountain, who I still see about once a year or so, informed me about the website and I have been amazed at the stories and pictures of so many old friends from my 12 years or so with the company.

I started at Down Grange Dairy where the lovely Les Kent offered me a temporary summer job. Actually he snapped my hand off as he was suffering from staff shortages at the time. I was given Round 3. The previous chap had fallen down a school playground "hole" caused by a road repair and had broken both legs. As a keen 19 year old I really enjoyed myself and quickly became a keen salesman, winning several promotions. However it was only a temporary job whilst I was waiting to start accountancy training with Lansing & Bagnalls fork lift manufacturers at Basingstoke. I reminded Les Kent about three weeks before I was due to leave and he was somewhat put out as I had become a useful member of the team by then.

A few days later I was stopped out on the round by a shortish, cigar smoking gentleman in his Jaguar car. My first meeting with the legendary Ted Bradnam. He promised me a fast track into management if I stayed on. I was dubious but he persuaded me to stay on. I did for about 12 years I think!  I quickly went up the ladder and moved all over the place, starting at Heston and eventually ended up at High Wycombe managing the Keep Hill Branch after Ron Seymour passed away. Ron was a great friend to me in my young days and was a father figure as well as my Manager.

Job's were very helpful to me when I changed my surname to my rightful one of Harris. My father was killed in WW2 in Italy when I was 2 years old and I was brought up by an aunt and uncle in the name of Hunter. The time of the change was quite traumatic for me and I really appreciated the help I was given by the firm.

I left Job's to work with John Mountain at Lord Rayleigh's Farms where I  became Assistant General Manager. After about 14 years there I moved on to become General Manager of Longslow Dairy in Shropshire where I retired  nearly 10 years ago as Managing Director.

After retirement I persued my passion for flying. I was already operating as a Gliding Instructor as a hobby and I went on to fly a single engined plane across the Atlantic on it's delivery flight and then flew in this same aircraft as a competitor (with the owner, my previous company chairman) in the last London - Sydney air race. We didn't win but we had a great adventure both going out to Australia and on the return!

Unfortunately I had a minor stroke about 6 years ago which caused me a few problems! However I am now pretty much back to normal. Some people say I never was normal before so that may be an improvement even! I stopped power flying and gliding instructing as a result of the stroke but I now have a restricted medical again which allows me to fly a glider solo. Now part owning a single seat glider I spend a lot of time at the Long Mynd with the Midland Gliding Club.

Family wise, sadly my first marriage to Hilary ended in divorce. Our 4 children have produced 9 grandchildren (so far!) I've been married to the lovely Nicky for the past 10 years and with my 68th birthday just gone we are growing old together!!

May I take the opportunity to send my old Job's family friends my best wishes,

Regards 

Chris Harris

 






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