Clarks employee who worked at the store for 68 years was dismissed with five days’ notice

woamn outside Clarks

Jill Cornick worked in a Clarks store in Dorset for 68 years (Photo: BNPS)

A woman who worked at Clarks for almost 70 years has been fired from the store she dedicated her life to – after just a week’s notice.

Shoe store worker Jill Cornick started working in the store in Blandford, Dorset, in 1956, when she was just 14 years old.

In 1969, she even postponed her honeymoon to pursue an education.

Jill continued to work in the same high street shop every day for 68 years.

When her son Jason was born in 1975, she put him in a playpen and raised him next to her on the work floor.

A pensioner who worked at the same Clarks shoe store for 68 years got the boot with just two days' notice

Jill Cornick models a pair of Clark’s during a 1970s fashion show in Blandford Forum, Dorset (Photo: BNPS)

BNPS.co.uk (01202) 558833. Photo: BNPS Pictured: Jill Cornick has weathered the tough Covid years.  A pensioner who worked at the same shoe store in Clarks for 68 years was given the shoe with just two days' notice.  Dedicated Jill Cornick started in the shop in Blandford, Dorset, in 1956 as a 14-year-old.  She worked continuously for the British retailer for the next seventy years, even postponing her honeymoon to undergo training.  After her son was born, she put him in a playpen in the store so she could continue working.

Devotee Jill Cornick started working in the shop in Blandford, Dorset, in 1956 as a 14-year-old (Photo: BNPS)

But this week her decades of employment came to an abrupt end after Clarks announced it was closing the store with immediate effect.

On her last day at work, crowds of customers stopped by to say goodbye and delivered flowers and chocolates to thank her for her years of customer service.

‘Overwhelming’

Jill said: “Last Thursday we were all told we were closing on Monday. It shocked us all a bit.

‘I started in 1956 and have been in the same store ever since. I felt good about myself and hoped I could do it for a few more years before I retired. It’s a real shame.

BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Photo: BNPS Pictured: Devotee Jill Cornick started working at the store in Blandford, Dorset, in 1956 as a 14-year-old.  A retiree who worked in the same Clarks shoe store for 68 years.  year, the boat was given with just two days' notice.  Dedicated Jill Cornick started in the shop in Blandford, Dorset, in 1956 as a 14-year-old.  She worked continuously for the British retailer for the next seventy years, even postponing her honeymoon to undergo training.  After her son was born, she put him in a playpen in the store so she could continue working.

When Clarks decided to finally close the Dorset store, Jill was given just two days’ notice (Picture: BNPS)

‘Monday was overwhelming, so many people came in with flowers and chocolates. I have helped so many clients over the years and some people were almost in tears.

‘In some cases I have helped four generations in the same family tailor their shoes.

‘I think I’ll rest now and go to the beach more. I don’t go anywhere to work. I’m going to do some charity work or something.

‘I loved the work, it was my life. I lived there above the store for years and took my son there. I’ll miss it, but I don’t want to start over now.’

Jill’s first job at Clarks was cleaning hobnailed boots in 1956.

During her many years of service, she has held various positions, including long periods as a manager and master shoe fitter.

Now widowed after the death of her husband David in 2016, Jill said she has only taken a handful of sick days in her decades of working and was furloughed for three months in 2020 during the national Covid lockdown.

Jill Cornick models a pair of Clark's during a fashion show in the 1970s

Jill postponed her honeymoon to train in 1969 and raised her son in a playpen in the shop (Photo: BNPS)

BNPS.co.uk (01202 558833) Photo: BNPS Pictured: Devotee Jill Cornick started working at the store in Blandford, Dorset, in 1956 as a 14-year-old.  A retiree who worked in the same Clarks shoe store for 68 years.  year, the boat was given with just two days' notice.  Dedicated Jill Cornick started in the shop in Blandford, Dorset, in 1956 as a 14-year-old.  She worked continuously for the British retailer for the next seventy years, even postponing her honeymoon to undergo training.  After her son was born, she put him in a playpen in the store so she could continue working.

Jill, a pensioner and widow, was unceremoniously dismissed after working in the same Clarks store for almost 70 years (Picture: BNPS)

The 82-year-old says she has always had a good relationship with customers and has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the messages of support she has received from them.

Her favorite part of the job was helping children buy new shoes for school.

“I have many highlights from the past few years, but my fondest memories are of the wonderful staff I worked with,” she added.

A Clarks spokesperson said: ‘We sincerely thank all members of the Blandford Forum store team for their contributions and dedication to providing excellent customer service – especially Jill, whose remarkable and unprecedented 68 years of service and dedication to our customers is enormous.
appreciated by everyone at Clarks.

“We wish Jill all the best.”

Contact our news team by emailing webnews@metro.co.uk.

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