Hailsham firm celebrates its centenary

Firm celebrates 100 years
Firm celebrates 100 years

For 100 years a Hailsham firm has been serving the people of East Sussex.

And this week staff from Wightman and Parrish celebrated its centenary year in style with a meal at the Cavendish Hotel in Eastbourne which was attended by more than 150 guests.

The firm began in Lewes, and was originally a supplier of ironmongery products but has evolved to become a leading distributor of healthcare and hygiene products which is now in its fourth generation of ownership.

Of the 150 guests at the celebration dinner, 75 were members of staff and their partners.

And there were also special guests inlcuding Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field, and Eastbourne and Willingdon MP, Stephen Lloyd.

Wightman and Parrish chairman, Michael Parrish, who has been with the company for 55 years, said it has been so successful because the company has a ‘great team’.

He said: “My grandfather and George Wightman set the company up in Lewes from humble beginnings and it’s changed enormously during that time to reflect customers’ changing needs.

“I’ve been with the company for 55 years and I learnt early on that a company is only as good as the people it employs - and we have a great team.”

A number of staff have been with the firm for many years and the Lord Lieutenant presented long service awards to them.

Awards went to Beverly Jordan for 25 years’ service, Simon Ayres for 37 years, Richard Sargent for 38 years and Dorothy Martin for 43 years’ service.

Dorothy Martin was also congratulated for organising the celebration dinner.

Lord Lieutenant Peter Field said: “We’re here to celebrate an amazing success story.

“I don’t know of any other Sussex company still in business after 100 years with the same ownership and the same commitment to the community.

“My wife and I are delighted to be here as your guest and as Her Majesty’s representative here in Sussex, to say thank you to you for your contribution to our country and in particular to the community here in the county.”

Managing director Nicholas Parrish added that 100 years is a feat that few companies ever achieve.

He said: “There is one thing about our business that has been really important and that’s the ability to seize new opportunities which have come along and our willingness to adapt and change.”