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Jan seeking the outdoor life after nearly 43 years at Morris Lubricants

Jan Gilbert is seeking to spend more time in the outdoors after nearly 43 years being office-based, processing orders from customers at Shrewsbury-based oil and lubricants manufacturer Morris Lubricants.

Jan Gilbert at Morris Lubricants’ 150th anniversary celebrations
Jan Gilbert at Morris Lubricants’ 150th anniversary celebrations

Jan, who joined the sales office on February 11, 1980, said goodbye to the company, where she worked for most of her life, on Friday, December 23.

During her career, she worked her way up to become customer services supervisor, arranging orders from customers across the UK, many of whom sent her gifts and ‘thank you’ messages on her last day.

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“I have had a lovely time working for Morris Lubricants and can’t believe it has been nearly 43 years,” said Jan, who lives near Shrewsbury. “I have witnessed amazing growth in the company which continues to go from strength to strength.

“It’s a great family firm to work for and I have enjoyed working with all the people I have met over the years. I have also had calls and lovely email messages, cards and presents from customers.”

When she joined the company, she recalls receiving handwritten customer orders on card which were then typed, before order processing was computerised.

Jan was introduced to the company by stalwart Thelma Leddington who clocked up more than half a century of service. “Thelma got me the interview and the rest is history, as they say,” said Jan, who followed her uncle, Brian Meades and his son, John, who were both drivers for Morris Lubricants.

She also spoke fondly of former boss, Andrew Morris who sadly passed away form Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in 2003. “He was always so kind to me and the other members of staff, he always had time for everyone” she said.

One of the memorable parts of her career was supporting the company’s various charity fundraising activities. Particularly noteworthy was the 2012 effort to climb every ‘County Top’ in England, Scotland and Wales to raise £20,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust in memory of colleague Adam Fewtrell, 20, who died from a rare form of childhood bone cancer.

“That was a fantastic effort which brought everybody together,” added Jan.

She also praised her colleagues for keeping the company going throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with some working from home and others working in the factory to ensure that orders were fulfilled.

In her semi-retirement, she plans to spend more time in the outdoors with her husband, Peter, as well as pursuing her hobbies of fly fishing and crafting – she makes special occasion cards.

She and Peter also enjoy canoeing and as a retirement present, Morris Lubricants has gifted Jan a sea kayak to fish for seabass off the Mid Wales coast.

Morris Lubricants executive chairman Andrew Goddard reminisced on Jan’s time at the company. “We are all so sorry to see Jan retire, she has been a well-established and respected employee for Morris Lubricants and has been a fixture here for so long that most of us can’t remember a time without her.

“I wish her all the very best for her retirement with Peter, and feel sure that our paths will cross again in the future.”

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