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Local family business couple celebrate a combined 116 years of service
Sussex-based cleaning, hygiene and healthcare products business Wightman & Parrish is celebrating more than 100 years of combined service for married couple, Michael and Pam Parrish.
Michael and Pam celebrated a combined 116 years at a celebration dinner in The Hardwick Suite at the International Lawn Tennis Centre. Family, friends and work colleagues came together to thank the couple for their drive and dedication over the years.
Having both joined the company 60 years ago, they have grown with the business and reached many milestones along the way.
Michael joined the family business in 1960, taking over from his father, Eric Parrish, as managing director. Having previously done National Service, Michael was also a Royal Naval Reservist and Magistrate alongside his role at the company, reaching the rank of Lieutenant Commander over his 30-year career. Michael was also lucky enough to meet her Majesty Princess Elizabeth when she visited Lewes in 1951. Michael's father was the Mayor of Lewes at the time and Michael managed to get a day off school to be there on the day to meet the Princess.
Michael grew the company rapidly, having to purchase new warehouse space twice during his time as MD as the business continued to expand. Winning the tender for Sussex Police in 1968 was a huge turning point for the business, and Wightman & Parrish has been supplying many local authorities with cleaning & hygiene products ever since.
His son Nicholas Parrish took over as managing director in 2005, and Michael took on the role of chairman, helping to make the business one of the largest distributors in the South East. Nicholas is the fourth generation of Parrish's working at the company. The Parrish family have solely been running the company, following the death of George Wightman in 1918.
Pam Parrish previously worked for Strutt & Parker before joining the business in 1964 and took on a variety of roles over the years, from payroll to accounts, and used to price up every invoice by hand in the early years. She supported both Michael and her wider colleagues throughout the years and together they were a great team and ran the business together.
A total of 78 people joined the sit-down dinner, with special guest Sir John Timpson CBE from The Timpson Group also attending and giving a speech.
"It was great to get so many people to come together to celebrate the success of my parents,” says Nicholas Parrish. “They have achieved so much over the past 60 years, and it was wonderful for them to receive the recognition they deserve.
"It was also great having Sir John Timpson join us for the celebration. My father has been a fan of his for many years, as he also runs a family business and started his employment around the same time as my father. John used to write a column in the Telegraph every week, and my dad would cut these out and send them to me, so it was a special moment for our family."
Wightman & Parrish is an independent, family-run business that specialises in the collation and distribution of both cleaning & hygiene solutions and has sustainability at the centre of the business.
13th October 2022