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Familiar and trusted face celebrates 50 years’ service

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  • 10th August 2022

It was 1972. Petrol cost 35p a gallon; The Godfather premiered starring Marlon Brando – and a 17-year-old Ros Hatton began work at Forrester Boyd Chartered Accountants’ Grimsby office.

Fifty years on and the same volume of fuel is priced at more than £8.60; one of the world’s greatest movie stars died 18 years ago - but Ros remains a familiar and trusted face to colleagues and clients.

She looks back at those days as the office junior with fondness and surprise that she’s celebrating half a century of working in the same building.

While Ros has cut her hours to three days a week, she still “loves” her job.

“I’ve been coming into the offices since I was a young girl,” she said. “I used to visit with my mum, who owned electricians EA Hall Ltd on Wellowgate, to see her accountant.

“It was a coincidence getting a job here. I’d literally just finished a secretarial course at Grimsby College of Technology because somebody had recommended I get keyboard skills.

“I used to work in mum’s shop on Saturdays and during the holidays, but I had no desire for a career in retail or in joining the family business (it had been previously run by her grandfather).

“One of the Partners, Trevor Bootyman, just happened to come into the shop and ask my mum how I was.

“She said, as it happened, I was looking for a job and he replied: ‘That is interesting, leave it with me’.

“The next week, I had an interview with Trevor and fellow Partner John Adams for the office junior role.

“Another interview followed with Marie Reeves, who was the general office supervisor. I was offered the job and paid £10 per week.

“It was quite unexpected.

“I was making the tea, fetching toasted tea cakes for the ladies I worked with from a local baker and doing general filing.

“Generally, I was the office dogsbody, and I didn’t do much typing.

“We used to have to take parcels to the bus station in Brighowgate for our offices in Louth and Scunthorpe.

“I remember using a Roneo duplicator, which was hand operated, and getting lathered in black ink every time I did so.

“We did have a photocopier, but it was not right for reproducing accounts.”

Ros was the office junior for seven years. Among her roles was responsibility for lighting and putting out the gas lamps during the 1974 miners’ strike, when electricity was scarce.

Following her promotion, she did more correspondence, using her typing skills.

“I remember my first typewriter had an electric carriage return and everything was replicated with carbon paper. If you made a mistake you had to rub it out.

“We gradually moved on to typewriters with a memory, albeit small.

“I also went on the switchboard. It was one of those with lots of cords that you used to connect people.

“Fax machines became an important part of communicating with clients.

“Some partners would use hand-held dictaphones and we would then listen back, write their words down in shorthand and then type it from there.

“Then we went on to transcribing machines. You’d put the dictaphone tape in it then listen via headphones and type it out, starting and stopping it using pedals on the floor.

“If there were any typing mistakes in a letter to a client you’d have to start again.

“There were no mobile phones, no internet, no emails, and no delete key!

“When you look back you realise how far we have come.

“When we got the first computer system, I was involved in the setup and inputting of client account headers, going to Manchester to do it.

“The firm has always moved forward. The partners have been very progressive – and continue to be – but maintain those traditional values.

“I am old school; it’s how I was taught. Accuracy and attention to detail are important. It was always drummed into us. Letters to clients are our shop window and must be accurate.

In the 1980s, Ros was asked to fill a new position of administration secretary, moving out of the general office and into one of her own.

At the same time, she was tasked with being private secretary to the partners, distributing meeting agendas, minutes and handling highly confidential material, a job she still performs.

Her role was expanded to assist with some of the marketing in the 1990s. She produced small adverts and that developed into coordinating client newsletters.

Today, Ros is involved in organising internal and external client events put on by Forrester Boyd.

“I’ve been very lucky. The role’s evolved but has always had variety.

“I’ve never really thought about the number of years I’ve been here. They have flown by and I don’t know where they have gone.”

Forrester Boyd was created in 1935 and has always been at 26 South St Mary’s Gate.

The firm’s had 62 partners and Ros has worked with all but five.

“I remember the firm’s golden jubilee in 1985 and in 2010 we celebrated 75 years.

“I’ve been asked what is my business highlight? But so much has happened over the years, I could not pick out one.”

Outside of work, Ros is chair of the Grimsby Concert Society, which promotes a series of classical concerts at Grimsby Town Hall. She enjoys travelling, baking, photography and gardening.

“Forrester Boyd has been my life. I have literally grown up with the firm.

“I’ve worked with great people over the years and learnt so much. I’ve seen huge growth of the firm in terms of numbers of staff, services, acquisitions, and the building. I watched the mansard roof and top floor being built in the early 1970s.

“I’ve always been keen to see young trainees progress through the ranks to become partners and senior partners.

“I would like to thank the partners for supporting and encouraging me over the years, giving me the opportunities to progress my career. I wouldn’t have changed anything.”

Chairman of Forrester Boyd Mike Beckett thanked Ros for her loyalty and continued service.

“Ros has enjoyed an unparalleled career. It is a remarkable achievement to work for the same firm for 50 years,” he said.

“On behalf of the partners and staff, past and present, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Ros and pay tribute to her.

“She remains a loyal, committed and much-valued member of our team and Forrester Boyd would have been much the poorer had she not accepted the office junior role when she was 17.”

The “shy and nervous” teenager who accepted that role in 1972 did not imagine working in the same building 50 years later.

Ros has remained a welcome constant at Forrester Boyd through times of great change. Congratulations to her on a landmark anniversary.

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