Yeovil Town

Yeovil man dedicated working life to Pittards before it was closed

Image caption,

Mr Gillett worked started working at Pittards when he was 20-years-old

A former employee of an historic leather firm says he is "immensely sad" to hear it has closed and its staff made redundant.

Paul Gillett joined Pittards when he was 20 and spent 41 years at the company, which has been at the heart of Yeovil for almost 200 years.

He said many former colleagues are upset there is nothing they can do.

Administrators were unable to find a buyer for the historic glovemaker which had been operating since 1826.

"I invested half of my physical life there," said Mr Gillett.

"There have been many exchanges, e-mails and texts between former colleagues who are all very upset. We're all sad."

Image source, Paul Gillet

Image caption,

Mr Gillett started working on the factory floors before working for the company's sales team

Mr Gillet was a former purchasing director at Pittards after starting work on the technical side of its factory.

He said it was common to find up to four generations of family members from Yeovil working throughout the business which had a huge "family spirit".

"There was a tradition, particularly in this area, where the ladies would sew the gloves at home," he said.

Image source, Paul Gillet

Image caption,

Mr Gillett said it had been a "joy" to work with his excellent team

"We even had a social club which had a beautiful purpose-built skittles alley and bar and it ran quizzes between the various departments," he added.

Adam Dance is a Lib Dem Councillor in Yeovil and said although he was aware Pittards has been in trouble for months, the closure is "still a shock".

"It's a key part of the town. The golden glove is on our town crest, Yeovil football club is nicknamed, 'The glovers'," he said.

"This is the last gloving factory in Yeovil so it is such sad news."

Image caption,

Mr Dance said the company was a key part of the town

Yeovil MP Marcus Fysh said the focus is now is on "supporting the staff".

"This is a big blow for the economy locally and I don't think unfortunately this will be the first business to go," he said.

"With the cost of living crisis and the energy bills, the government needs to wake up now. People just can't afford to live the lives they were living."

In a statement released on Tuesday, Pittards said it had ceased to trade with immediate effect and a majority of the 135 staff would be made redundant.

Negotiations to secure the futures of the company's 900 workers in Ethiopia are ongoing.

The accountancy firm Ernst & Young has been appointed as administrator.

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