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20 Years on!

Unbelievably this week will be 20 years since I successfully completed my management buyout of Hadley & Ottaway and whilst there have been many changes during the past 20 years some things here at H&O have not. Providing quality Removals at the highest level has always been and will continue to be our priority. This however can only be achieved consistently by having staff who share my ethos. Thankfully I get to work with a passionate and a knowledgeable team all who have been with me for a number of years and who deliver service to the highest levels, helping our customers through every step of their move ensuring their homes or business goes as smoothly and as stress free as possible.

Life for me in the Removals Industry started back in 1979 when I joined a Watton based Removals Company as a Removals Porter where I remained for 15 years. Not long after joining I went on the Youngs Drivers Scheme obtaining my HGV Class 2 licence. Shortly after I did my HGV Class I licence which enabled me to become one of the Drivers chosen to carry out the European Moves. I absolutely loved my time as a Removals Driver and soon was promoted to Senior Driver then not long after to Removals Foreman. During this period, I carried out some amazing Removals which included the then Duke & Duchess of York into their then home at Sunningdale, the Duke & Duchess of Kent and also Princess Diana’s Mother Lady Shand Kydd. In 1990 I was promoted to Operations Supervisor a role I particularly enjoyed. Sadly, though that was as far as I was permitted to progress and so when in April 1994 Leo Palmer the then owner of H&O asked me to join him I had no hesitation in accepting the role as his Operations Manager. First priority was to bring on board people who I’d previously worked with and who also possessed years of experience in the Removals Industry. Once on board we promptly set about turning the Company into what is now the leading Removals & Storage Company in East Anglia. An achievement I am particularly proud of. Whilst I was able to bring to the business Removals knowledge in return Leo taught me how to not only run a business but man management skills which were to serve me so well over the next 20 years.

Me 20 Years on Photo

There have been many changes during the past 20 years not all of them for the better it has to be said! When I look outside the business and think about technology I notice how our lifestyles have changed out of all recognition since 2004: for example;

Selfie Culture, remember when taking a selfie was a novelty? Now, there's a whole industry around selfie sticks, ring lights, and even "selfie-ready" makeup.

Texting Language: From "LOL" and "BRB" to entire conversations in emojis.

Oversharing Online: From photos of every meal to live-tweeting bathroom breaks, we've learned (or not) the art of sharing way too much.

Fitness Trackers: Constantly checking your step count and feeling a strange guilt when you don’t hit 10,000 steps.

Great strides though have been made in technology many of which we use within our business; sat navigation systems, tracking devices and dash cams for our vehicles. I guess the biggest change for me at least is the Internet which has opened up a whole new world in so many ways and to numerous to mention but has benefited our business in ways I never thought imaginable 20 years ago. I mean ‘Virtual Viewings’ as an option for our customers! Didn’t see that one coming! Excuse the pun!

As I look back on the last 30 years at H&O, ten as an employee twenty as MD it has been quite the rollercoaster ride. Fantastic highs mixed with a few desperate lows brought on by a recession and COVID both of which tested our resolve. But with the help and support of my amazing wife and Co Director Caroline, the staff and of course our customers we didn’t just come through those adversity’s but came out much stronger and better and If proof were needed then who better to ask than our customers who have taken the time to express their views both on Which and ReferenceLine. So many amazing testimonials has prompted our current mantra as ‘Proven not Promised’

Despite the difficult times that we had to negotiate we were still able to grow the business; moving from an old shoe factory in the centre of Norwich to ironically the current 17,000 sq ft of purpose-built premises in Watton where my life in Removals started way back in1979. I’d come home! The move enabled considerable growth from 100 storage containers to over 500. A dedicated area for Grand & Upright Pianos, our own training facility where both new and current staff can receive bespoke training that not only meet the needs of our customers but the Company’s own very high standards.

Me 20 Yeras on 2024

Inevitably there will come a time when the baton will have to be passed on but not until at least H&O celebrates its 100th birthday in 4 years’ time! After that who knows but while the passion for this wonderful Company still burns inside I will continue to ensure that our customers receive the best removals service possible and that we remain East Anglia’s premier Removals & Storage Company.

Heres to the next 20 years………...

Me 20 Years on Photo v3

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