A LOT has changed in the last 55 years at one of Linlithgow’s oldest firms but one friendly face has stayed the same.
May Paterson first walked into Peterkin and Kidd on February 3, 1958, as a fresh faced 15-year-old office junior.
She said: “I began by delivering letters, going to the bank and making the tea! I was part of the old brigade - we started off with the old manual typewriters, progressing onto the electronic typewriters, before computers came in.”
May, originally from Bo’ness, moved to Linlithgow High Street when she married her late husband Bob in 1967.
She added: “It was very handy for me, and when I had my daughter in July, 1970, I was given a typewriter to keep working from home! In 1981 I went back to working full time, and became an executry secretary, which meant that I dealt with a person’s estate after they die, wills and powers of attorney, and that’s what I’ve been doing up until now.”
Unlike today’s modern interior, May recalled: “Peterkin and Kidd used to be a very cold office, with only a one bar electric fire to keep us warm. So when we had a break, the girls and I used to keep warm by skipping on the office floor!”
But last Thursday, January 24, May walked out of the door for the last time, retiring just shy of 55 years on the job.
Peterkin and Kidd staff gave her a very warm sendoff with holiday vouchers, jewellery, a special tipple, a personalised cake and a buffet lunch.
Gordon Young, partner at Peterkin and Kidd, said: “We have a tradition of long service with our staff, but there has been none as long as May from her first day to her last - it’s actually longer than I’ve lived!”
He praised her depth of local knowledge and warned she may still be contacted for her expertise in the future.
And celebrations continued for May last week, when she celebrated her 70th birthday on Friday, Burns night, with family and friends.