A WOMAN will retire this autumn after spending an impressive 50 years working for the same business.

Denise Butcher has been at Stell Cardboard Tubes, Keighley, since she was just 15-years-old, joining the firm immediately after finishing school. Her final day at the company will be October 26. Her boss has paid tribute to her skill and dedication.

Mrs Butcher, who is a machine minder, said: “It does seem strange in a way. I feel a bit nervous about leaving after I’ve been here for so long. In one way I think I’m ready to go, but in another I’m not.”

She began at the firm in August 1967 when it was based at Holme Mills, in Fell Lane, Keighley. She was then paid £30.50 per week.

She worked as a cutter and packer, but since then has gone on to do many different jobs and roles for the business. Mrs Butcher lived in Guardhouse when she first started working for the company but now lives in Fell Lane. She said she considered retirement in 2015 when Stell moved to its new home in Royd Ings Avenue, Keighley, but decided to continue for a little longer. I’ve seen a lot of changes at the company and I will miss it,” she said.

“I had a sister who also worked here for about 21 years, and I have a brother in law who still works here.”

She said once she retires she plans to use her extra time to get involved with Keighley’s Welcome Cafe. Stell managing director Richard Guest said: “Denise is very versatile and can run many of our converting machines, cutting cardboard tubes into shorter lengths. Some of the machine are older than her, but not many! Maurice Atkinson, who was one of our previous production managers, remembered her as a great ‘bag lady’, which was from the days when our tubes were shipped out and moved around in hessian bags. Denise has been a superbly reliable member of staff, with very little time off. She is one of those people who you can give a job to and she’ll just crack on until its finished. It will be very weird putting the manning list up without Denise’s name on it.”

Outside work, Mrs Butcher is a bell ringer at Keighley Shared Church and was previously captain of the Girls Brigade.