‘We’ll miss you Jack’ - Collett and Sons’ longest-serving employee dies

Jack Hughes with David CollettJack Hughes with David Collett
Jack Hughes with David Collett
Halifax firm Collett and Sons say their longest-serving employee John Hughes will be sadly missed after his death.

Mr Hughes, known as Jack, was Collett & Sons’ longest serving employee with 57 years under his belt.

He left St. Marys school, Gibbet Street, Halifax in 1942 when he was 15 years old and got his first job was working at S.Whitely & Co, Cotton Mill on Hanson Lane, Halifax where he stayed for arond a year.

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He was then offered a job by James Murgatroyd, who was a cattle dealer and resided at Moorfield Farm, Wainstalls, Halifax. The job was to all intents a ‘farm hand’ job which included mucking out the mistal and general farm duties,

Jack Hughes at his retirement party in 1992Jack Hughes at his retirement party in 1992
Jack Hughes at his retirement party in 1992

but he was soon involved in going to the cattle markets with James.

Eventually James Murgatroyd bought a car, even though he couldn’t drive himself and relied on Jack to drive it.

James Murgatroyd engaged local cattle wagon owners such as Saxtons of Outlane and Clifford Gibson from Hipperholme, who eventually sold his transport license to Robinsons of Triangle. Jack was then left solely to buy and sell cattle on behalf of James Murgatroyd to various farms and markets within approximately 150 miles radius of Halifax.

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Then in 1962 James Murgatroyd sold Moorfield farm at Wainstalls to Richard Collett (the grandfather of the current Collett Transport business owners) who let Jack Hughes and James Murgatroyd continue to do their cattle dealing until James died a few years later.

By 1963 Jack Hughes was also being employed by Richard Collett to drive one of their milk wagons on the daily milk runs and Jack obtained his HGV class 3 driving license.

Then in the early 1970’s Collett was also transporting engineered products for local business like Wm. Asquith, T.Bibby and Dragonware at Elland, plus bales of wool and fibre across Halifax, Bradford and Huddersfield between scourers, dyers and finishers etc for customers like Bradford Waste Pulling and Pennine Fibres of Denholme. Chemicals were also carried for Aquaspersions of Hebden Bridge. Jack was engaged in all of this work.

From the mid 70’s onwards, Collett became a Limited company and was growing and Jack was still driving the trucks faithfully across Great Britain. Apart for a break of six months in the 70’s where some health issues arose, where Jack

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was then engaged in the office and away from manual work, until he was fit and strong enough to continue, Jack continued as a driver until his ‘official’ retirement in January 1992.

Collett arrange a retirement party at the Imperial Crown in Halifax for all current and numerous ex-employees, but the following Monday morning Jack reported for duty. Faced with this tricky situation, it was easy to continue to employ Jack as a ‘second man’ who would sit in the cab with the drivers when transporting abnormal loads, which is a legal obligation when doing this type of work.

Jack continued as a second man for approximately five years at which point it was agreed that he should start to take things a little easier being over 70 years old. So a new position of sandwich boy was created, and for over 20 years

Jack had the daily task of taking the sandwich order from office staff in Halifax, collecting the sandwiches and distributing them around the office.

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“Jack has been a constant in our lives and everyone knows him as being part of the family as well as the fixtures and fittings of our company,” said David Collett, Managing Director of Collett & Sons Ltd.

“It is with great sadness that we announce Jack’s passing and he will be sadly missed throughout the company.”

Jack’s funeral will take place on Friday at 1.30pm at Mount Tabor Methodist church, followed by burial at Christchurch, Pellon.

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