January 2021

34 years of Loyal Service

At the end of January, John Pursey, having reached 'that' age, will be retiring from J Hewit & Sons.

John joined the company in February 1987 as Area Sales Manager, coming to us from Brunel College in Bristol, where he worked as their bookbinding technician. In the intervening years, he has tirelessly navigated the roads of England and Wales (and occasionally further afield) visiting our customers at their businesses, institutions and homes. John has also made numerous sales visits to students at their schools, colleges and evening classes and has attended too many trade fairs and conferences to mention.

John's hard work, bookbinding expertise and diligence have greatly benefited our company. He richly deserves his retirement, but he will be missed by all of us at Hewits, not to mention his countless customers, many of whom have become good friends.

We would like to wish John, his wife Carol and their family every success and happiness for the next chapter in their lives. Retirement will surely offer him many new opportunities, which we know he'll embrace wholeheartedly. Perhaps we'll be seeing him back on the golf course.....?

All the best John!

The Team at the old firm


And from our MD, Roger Barlee

It will be a very sad day for us all when Mr P finally hangs up his boots at the end of the month. John joined us in 1987 taking over as our Sales Representative when John Naylor retired. You could say that John's appointment was a bit of a gamble as all our previous sales reps had been leatherworkers and were primarily employed to sell leather to the leathergoods markets. John Naylor had actually studied at the Leathersellers College in London with my father and run his family leather tannery.

Mr P was different in that his background was bookbinding having taught at Brunel College and this change of emphasis illustrated the sea-change in our customer base from primarily leathergoods customers to bookbinders. Many of our younger customers will struggle to understand how things have changed in these thirty-four years. To start off with, a large proportion of our bookbinding customer base were long-established bookbinding companies, many of which are sadly no longer with us. Mobile phones were new and John initially made appointments by sending out visit requests by post using pre-printed cards. Over time, as the larger bookbinding companies have closed, John has moved over to visiting more day and evening classes delivering supplies from the back of his car. In addition he also took on the role of stamping the bookmarks that we have made over the last 20 years.

John must go down in the Company history as one of the most successful and longest lasting sales reps we have ever employed. I am very interested in the Company history and we have a letters book covering the period from the early 1890's to 1905. In the 12 years from 1893 my great grandfather hired and dispensed with 5 salesmen covering central England. These five men, before their dismissal, were all given warnings for lack of drive and the inability to communicate with head office by writing two short letters per week telling of their activities. Neither of these faults could ever be laid at John's feet.

Over the last thirty-odd years we have all made full use of John's font of technical knowledge of bookbinding and whenever a customer phones up saying "I have a problem doing ...." we all know who to turn to. I am sure that going forward, there will still be the odd call to Mr P.

I will certainly miss John's great help at stocktaking and our evenings playing the odd hand of cribbage whilst enjoying a whisky and I, along with all the staff in Livingston, wish John a very happy retirement.