WILLIAM KNOWLES, Ipswich and Norwich Society's Assistant General Manager, has taken early retirement.
He joined the Ipswich Society as a management trainee in 1965, spending a year at the Co-operative College, before starting work as research assistant to the then Chief Executive Officer, Ron Edmondson. He later became Development Officer and finally Assistant General Manager, a position he has held for over 30 years.
He had a variety of jobs in the dairy, dry goods and personnel departments. His work also took him to the society's Boss Hall estate, which at that time was largely given over to market gardening. This was all good grounding for what was to come and his knowledge of the society's history and background to its developments is second to none. His 1968 booklet on the society's centenary remains a key resource for historical reference.
Some career highlights included the development of Ipswich Solar Superstore, subsequent Solar stores, and the Boss Hall Business Park and Rosehill Estate ? now major enterprises in their own right.
A key figure in the setting up of the East Anglia Federal Co-operative Society, he was its Secretary from its formation in 1983 until his retirement.
At a presentation on his retirement he said: "Good colleagues, the success of the business and the society's sound Co-op principles have made my job fulfilling and hugely enjoyable. We have the most vigorous development programme that I can recall.
"It is really gratifying that the society is taking fresh initiatives to strengthen its co-operative identity and its roots in the community."
William Knowles is pictured with colleagues at his retirement presentation.