DEDICATED Mark Hooper has clocked up an impressive 30 years service – at a job he only planned on staying in for a few weeks.
Mark Hooper started working at the family-owned Victory Trophies store in Kingston Road, Buckland, aged 18.
Thirty years later, he’s the manager and the business celebrated his three decades with cake – and by raising money for a good cause.
Mark said: ‘Sometimes it doesn’t feel like 30 years, other times it feels like a lot longer.
‘Getting to know the customers and the people who work here has made it like my family.
‘We make jokes and swap stories. They know most of my jokes because I keep repeating them.
‘It’s a family atmosphere, the business is owned by a family and that ethos goes into everything. Everyone feels like a part of the team.
‘It’s a good place to work and the customers are great.’
The job was Mark’s first – and he was placed there under a training scheme for three weeks, however he got on so well, they offered him a full-time job and he hasn’t looked back.
Over the years he has worked on many different items, such as engraving historical artefacts for the Royal Navy and working for Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
He said: ‘The fact that we do some work that sort of has historical context is mind blowing.’
He has also seen many changes in the industry.
Mark said: ‘We started off with hand operating machines, then we went through the first generation of computerised engraving machines and then we switched to laser engraving machines.’
To mark his 30th work anniversary, the store held a party and a fundraising coffee and cake morning, with profits going to cancer charity Macmillan.
Mark said: ‘We only expected to get £20 or £30 but we raised much more as we have got some really good customers, quite a few of them came in just for the tea and cake which gave us donations and it was wonderful.’
Jerry Smith, who owns Victory Trophies with his wife Melzie, said: ‘This was his first job and he stayed with us for 30 years which is a fantastic achievement. He really is a face of Victory Trophies. We’re so thankful to have him with us, he really knows the business inside and out.’