A loyal servant to a historic holiday company is celebrating half a century of service – and he isn’t ready for retirement yet.
Peter Mackie, who marked 50 years as an employee of Altham’s Travel Services last July, has spoken to the Express about his love for the company where he is general manager and how the travel industry has changed over the years.
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Halifax born and bred, Peter started at the Altham’s branch in his home town as a junior clerk on July 24th, 1967.
Then a raw 16-year-old, Peter had applied for the job alongside one at a building society, but was glad he opted for the world of holidays rather than accounts.
He said: “I didn’t fancy the building society job, so I think I made the right choice. I’ve never looked back.
“I know that 50 years at the same company is a long time but loyalty is important to me, both from the employer and employee.
“I’ve made many friends over the years and enjoyed the job tremendously. I still feel fit and well and have no plans to retire just yet.”
Peter (67) gained his first manager’s job at the Otley Altham’s branch in 1972, an experience he joked had a lot to answer for as he met his future wife Cheryl there.
The couple, who have three sons and four grandchildren, moved to Burnley in 1978 and have lived in the town ever since. The proud Yorkshireman, who was made general manager in 2000 at the Burnley store, has even been converted to the Clarets.
He said: “The biggest change I’ve seen in the industry has been the advent of the internet, but I feel that people still want that face-to-face service we offer when booking holidays.
“We have 31 branches in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Humberside and haven’t felt the need to close any. When I started Altham’ still had a few of its original grocery stores but these were being phased out.
“Travel has changed a lot as well since I started. I will always remember the Wakes Week, which were very big occasions in Lancashire and Yorkshire.
“We used to have people queuing outside the doors for rail tickets in those days. Flights had been coming on to the scene more but they were the old prop jets.
“People will always want to enjoy holidays, whether that’s in this country or much further afield. I hope we can continue to help them.”