With us from the start: Specsavers’ first employee

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Specsavers’ very first employee, Helen Pipet, has been celebrating 35 years with the company and is not planning on retiring any time soon. 

Not counting the company’s co-founders Doug and Dame Mary Perkins, Helen is the longest-serving employee at Specsavers – having started work in 1984, the same year Specsavers was founded in the UK.

In those days, there were no job titles or departments, as there were only four employees including the Perkins. Helen helped out with whatever was needed, from sorting frames to doing paperwork and running errands.

Back then the small team worked from Doug and Mary’s house, from a table tennis table in the spare room. When they opened an optician’s practice in Guernsey, UK, Mary asked Helen to help out in the office. From picking and packing frames into shoe boxes and piling them high on the back of her scooter to take to the post office, working in merchandising (pictured) and introducing the first store uniform (pictured), to her current role in Marketing Finance, it’s fair to say Helen has enjoyed a very varied career to date.

The company’s Guernsey Support Office now has nearly 600 staff, many of whom gathered to see Dame Mary present Helen with her a long-service framed certificate, champagne, a bouquet of flowers and other gifts (below).

At the presentation, Dame Mary shared many memories of Helen’s time in the business. “There’s not much Helen doesn’t know about Specsavers,” she said. “I’d like to thank you for everything you’ve done – you are very much part of Specsavers’ history and family.”

Clearly still enjoying every minute, Helen said, “It’s been a very quick 35 years. I have really enjoyed my time here. Here’s to the next 35!”

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