PAWS’ May meeting saw 43 members listening to Christine Beedle MBE talk about “The Essex Scrubber”. Christine was a very inspirational speaker and started off by talking about buying her cleaning business and obtaining her first contract with Willis Corroon in Ipswich, cleaning Norman Foster’s iconic building (see below), in 1975.
Christine started with 35 cleaners and build the business to 850 when she sold the business in 2000. She wanted to change the face of cleaners for good and promote cleaners as a profession.
It was a fabulous journey but the most enjoyable part of it all was seeing women join the business and grow with it. We always promoted from within.
Christine worked closely with the CSSA (Cleaning and Support Service Association) for ten years and was the only woman on the Association’s Board of Directors. The government, the DTI and the Low Pay Commission regularly approached Christine for her views on employment issues, such as National Minimum Wage and Working Time Directive.
Recognition flowed as Christine was voted East Anglia Businesswoman of the Year in 1992, won the Women into Business Award presented by Kenneth Clarke, Chancellor of the Exchequer, at 10 Downing Street in 1995, and the MBE for Services to the Cleaning Industry in 1998, presented by the Queen.
She has written 2 books outlining her journey and humorous facts along the way. These books were were on sale on the night. Christine was happy to answer the numerous questions after her talk.
Our next get together is on June 27th when Henry Brickwood returns with his talk on “Best Back Gardens”. Read about his last visit in 2013 here. Membership is currently full but visitors are very welcome at a cost of £5.00 which includes refreshments.
You can find details of all our meetings and speakers on the diary of the home page of this website. If you would like further information about P.A.W.S please ring either of the following committee members: