97 year old shop worker finally retires

Posted on: 10 November 2011 by Alexander Hay

After a 20 year stint at B&Q, near-centenarian Syd Prior finally hangs up his apron

Syd lives - and at 97, is looking forward to his second retirement

A 97 year old shop worker today finally retired after working at DIY store B&Q for almost 21 years.

Syd Prior, of New Malden, started work at his local branch at age 76, and retires after working from 10am to 4pm every Wednesday there.

B&Q has a long-standing tradition of hiring older workers, saying that they are more likely to be reliable and customer friendly than other age groups. At present, over one in four employees is over 50.

Syd's retirement lead to a tribute from the CEO of B&Q owners Kingfisher, Euan Sutherland. "I had the honour and privilege of meeting Syd regularly in our New Malden store where he was a greeter. Being a part of his 95th birthday celebrations a couple of years ago in store has been one of the key highlights of my career so far at B&Q and I can’t believe he’s 97 this week.

"Everyone at B&Q is sorry to hear that Syd is finally hanging up his B&Q apron but he certainly deserves a very well earned rest and second retirement. We’d all like to wish him a very happy 97th Birthday for Thursday this week and applaud him for the massive contribution he has made to B&Q."

Syd's being B&Q's oldest employee granted him near-celebrity status, as he was chosen to open the new branch of his local B&Q in 2009. Before his stint at the retailer, he worked at Covent Garden, and as a salesman, an office clerk and a Signalmen during World War Two.

He is replaced as B&Q's oldest employee by Albert Billington, age 88, of Bristol; Clifford Sarjeant, age 87, of Kettering and Stanley Collins, age 86, of Guildford.

The New Malden branch's oldest employee is now Hazel Ward, who - at 79 years of age – has some way to go if she wants to claim Syd's crown.

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Alexander Hay

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