Friday, August 22, 2014
Ex-workers invited to special reunion in September
HUNDREDS of former workers from the Barnstaple Clarks factory are expected to come together in September to mark 10 years since its closure.
The Abbeyfield Social and Leisure Club, set up for the shoemaker’s ex-employees, is looking for anyone who used to work at the Abbeyfield plant to come together to share their stories and see some old faces again at the Ex-Servicemen’s Club in St George’s Road on Saturday, September 27.
The shoemaking plant in Braunton Road was one of the UK’s final Clarks factories when it was shut down in 2004 after 40 years of production.
At its peak, the factory employed some 400 locals and churning out 25,000 pairs of shoes a week.
Abbeyfield members still meet every month, but have decided to mark the special anniversary with an open invitation to the evening in September.
Club chairman Bev Huxtable said: “We’re hoping to get about 200 ex-workers and everyone who wants to turn up is welcome.”
Pete McDine, who worked at the factory from its opening in 1965 until its closure in 2004, said: “It will be fantastic to see all the old faces. It was a lovely place to work and a really buzzing factory.
“Everyone was so loyal, too – we used to say that if you cut us in half you would see Clarks.”
Pete Popham, who worked his way up to become a manager at the factory, said: “Without Clarks, none of us would have had a good living.”
The anniversary reunion will take place from 8pm-midnight on September 27.