Together Again - 260 expected at clothing factory reunion

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MORE than 260 people are expected to get their gladrags on for a forthcoming reunion.

A get-together is being held next week for anyone who ever worked at BMB Clothing, in Powlett Road, Hartlepool.

It is also open to staff who worked at the site when it existed under its previous guises, Price’s, John Collier’s and Alexandre.

Staff member Annette Clayton (nee Marshall) appeared in the Mail in early August appealing for as many people as possible to go along.

But now she said: “We have got 260 people confirmed up to now and the numbers are still piling in, it’s really good.”

Annette, a 54-year-old mum-of-three from Owton Manor, said one of the former employees who has confirmed their attendance is Jean O’Connor.

Jean, who still lives in the town, spent all her working life at the factory, having started aged 15 in 1945 and retired in 1990.

Annette (nee Marshall), who has worked for the company since the 1970s, and is organising the reunion with fellow long-serving colleague Linda Weatherill (nee Sharp), added Teddy Bilton is also attending.

Teddy worked in the cutting room and picked up his 40 years’ long service award with the firm.

Grandmother-of-two Annette, who is married to Les, started out as a machinist in 1972.

She then went on to be supervisor, then production manager, and is now a quality assurance manager.

Annette, whose sister Kathy Barnard worked for the firm in the 1960s and was then a manager in the 1970s and 1980s, said: “It’s through the Mail and word of mouth that everybody’s heard about the reunion, it’s absolutely fantastic.  “We are over the moon and people are still calling in to find out about it.”

Dave Tate, a former quality manager with the company, has also said he will be travelling from his home in Bishop Auckland to the event.

Staff are still trying to decide which charity to donate proceeds from the £1 entry to, with the Great North Air Ambulance, Hartlepool and District Hospice and the Butterwick Hospice, in Stockton, as possible contenders.

On the night, hundreds of photos of life at the factory will be displayed at the venue.

The gathering will be held at Owton Manor Social Club, in Wynyard Road, Hartlepool, from 7pm on Friday, October 7.

As previously reported, Anna Marshall, who worked at the factory from 1968 to 1995, is travelling from Benidorm for the event and Sandra Hamilton, who was employed there from 1970 to 1995, is coming from Bulgaria.

Any ex-staff who would like to attend can call into the factory’s reception, or call Annette on 07895865327 or Linda on 07784571539.