'Lucky' receptionist retires after 50 years at estate agents

Lynette Barnes and his husband Peter in their garden in Fakenham

Lynette Barnes and his husband Peter in their garden in Fakenham - Credit: Aaron McMillan

She left school at 16 and started working at her market town’s estate agent - 50 years later Lynette Barnes is leaving the only job she has ever had.

Mrs Barnes is retiring from her position as receptionist administrator at Spalding and Co in Fakenham on June 24 almost 50 years to the day of joining the business in 1972 -  straight after leaving Alderman Peel high school.

The 66-year-old joined the business, then known as Savills, as an office junior, making teas for staff and beginning to learn the ropes of becoming a receptionist.

Lynette Barnes at her desk at Spalding & Co in the 80s

Lynette Barnes at her desk at Spalding & Co in the 80s - Credit: Nick Bird

In 1974, the office was looking for just that, and Mrs Barnes stepped up, and she soon got to grips with running the office, planning out diaries, and sorting out house details for local advertising.

She stayed with the business for ten years until it was sold by Savills to local businessman Hubert Spalding, who kept her on board.

Mrs Barnes helped out opening a second office in Wells, before experiencing the biggest change in her job, the introduction of computers.

Lynette Barnes at her desk at Spalding & Co, where she is set to retire on June 24

Lynette Barnes at her desk at Spalding & Co, where she is set to retire on June 24 - Credit: Josh Hamblin

“The biggest change was switching over to PC systems and online advertising,” she said.

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“We suddenly had little or no footfall in an office, it was all online and computers and that was a big hurdle for me to overcome.

“I did have some stressful days where I was learning, but thanks to my two sons who were very computer literate I was able to get to grips and actually quite enjoy it.”

Lynette Barnes at her desk at Spalding & Co in the 80s

Lynette Barnes at her desk at Spalding & Co in the 80s - Credit: Nick Bird

In 2006, Mr Spalding retired and another businessman, Nick Glaister, bought the business, keeping all the staff and the name.

But now, Mrs Barnes is calling time on a job which she never expected to still have half a century on.

“I didn't think I’d be in the same job for 50 years,” she added.

“I always loved office work, and was something I wanted to do, but never dreamt I’d do the same thing for this long.

Lynette Barnes at her desk at Spalding & Co, where she is set to retire on June 24

Lynette Barnes at her desk at Spalding & Co, where she is set to retire on June 24 - Credit: Josh Hamblin

“I’m just a local person, I got married and moved here from South Creake and was lucky enough to love my work and never had a reason to change it.”

Retirement beckons with husband Peter, and travels abroad are on the horizon. The family has also recently welcomed a 16-month-old grandson, another good reason to retire.