‘Retiring after 70 years? I’m only 89!’ Leamington woman could be UK’s longest serving employee

Monica Evans with her colleagues
Monica Evans with her colleagues

Accountant Monica Evans could be UK’s longest serving employee after clocking up seven decades with the same family firm – and she’s still balancing the books.

Retiring is not an adjective often used to describe the 89-year-old, who is about to celebrate a record-breaking 70 years working for the same engineering business.

Monica Evans at work.

Monica Evans at work.

The ‘ledger in her own life time’ started work as an accounts clerk at Kigass Ltd in Leamington in April 1947, at the tender age of 19, just two years after the guns of WW2 fell silent.

Now, 70 years later, Monica, who has just celebrated her 89th birthday, is still balancing the books three days a week – and could be the UK’s longest serving employee.

The company has written to the Guinness Book of Records which is verifying her status as the UK’s longest serving employee, previously believed to be held by 79-year-old postman Hamish Menzies who had worked 64 years.

Despite this unbroken record of service, Monica, who lives in Leamington, has no immediate plans to retire.

Legendary for her forensic eye for detail – she still employs double-entry book keeping by hand alongside the digital BACs invoice payments to suppliers - Monica once kept her five-strong team after hours because the books were in deficit to the tune of two pence!

“No one was allowed to go home until we had found out what had happened – it sounds silly by today’s standards, but you have to be able to balance the books if you want to run a successful business,” said Monica, who has looked after the accounts for four generations of the same family at the aerospace engineering company, now based in Montague Road, Warwick.

“I love working for Kigass – it has been my life and will continue to be important to me. When I started work, there were six members of staff working in Regent Grove, Leamington and the Wardman family lived above the factory. In those days, I was employed on switchboard sometimes and the owner Charlie would call down to me when he had an issue on his mind and say – ‘get me the Prime Minister’. He was a wonderfully eccentric boss.”

Monica received another surprise this week – a congratulatory letter from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Damien Green MP.