A popular employee from Marks & Spencer in Kirkcaldy said an emotional farewell to colleagues last week when she retired – after working for the company for more than 50 years.
Ellen Brand was given a special send-off on Friday afternoon when staff lined the walkway at the Mercat entrance to the High Street store and clapped her out, while she was escorted by Burntisland piper Walter Anderson.
She also had a celebration in the Kirkcaldy store last Wednesday for her retirement when ex-managers and former colleagues gathered with staff.
It comes after the section manager reached the golden milestone of 50 years’ service with M&S last year.
To mark the occasion, Ellen was invited to a celebration in London along with other company employees who were also having their long service recognised. At the event she had the chance to meet the company chief executive Steve Rowe.
Ellen began her career at M&S Kirkcaldy in 1967 when she was just 15 years old, having been keen to work for the retailer after leaving school.
At the time, the store was undergoing a major extension, and Ellen was recruited as a sales assistant in the womenswear department.
She began training as a supervisor in 1978 before becoming a section manager – a position she’s held for almost 40 years.
During this time, Ellen also undertook a three-year stint in the M&S Dunfermline store, as well as six months at the Gyle in Edinburgh.
Ellen said: “Looking back over the past five decades, I have so many amazing memories with M&S. I’ve made life-long friends in my colleagues, and have met some fantastic people and customers.”
She continued: “Things have changed so much over the years, most notably womenswear fashion trends, but one thing that has always remained steadfast is the incredible charity work that M&S is actively involved in.
“M&S has played such a key part in my life for as long as I can remember.
“It’s a company that really cares.
“I have worked in every store section apart from food. I did six months training in food but I ended up going back to children’s wear. I finished up as section manager on Women’s Wear and Lingerie.”
Ellen has many great memories of working at M&S and her personal highlights over the years have included: travelling to London in 2009 for the 125th anniversary of the company; being selected to do a photo shoot in Manchester for posters which apperaed in stores across the country as well as achieving her long service award.
Ellen has trained a lot of staff over the years including Elaine Anderson who is now the manager in the company’s Princes Street store in Edinburgh.
As for her retirement plans she hopes to go on more holidays and look for a car.
Ellen, who lives in Redcraigs, Kirkcaldy, added: “I have loved every minute of working for M&S. My send off was lovely, the staff have done me really proud.”