Linda rises from bottom to the top

Rushden pic of Linda Watts (MD) who has worked her way up from a factory girl at 16 to become the MD
Rushden pic of Linda Watts (MD) who has worked her way up from a factory girl at 16 to become the MD

A junior office girl who worked her way up to become managing director is still pushing the historic firm she works for forward.

Linda Watts began work at Stanley L Hunt Printers in Rushden in June 1971, just a couple of weeks after her 16th birthday.

Nearly 41 years later, Mrs Watts is now at the helm as the firm’s managing director – a role she finds humbling.

She said: “When I first arrived I had just finished my GCEs. My older sister had gone into further education but I had no interest in that.

“I’ve always been a doer and just wanted to get on with things.

“To have become managing director is an honour. It’s quite humbling that I have the responsibility for 28 other employees and to continue the business forward.”

The firm, founded by Stanley L Hunt in 1916, completes more than 1,000 jobs a year including book work, journals, magazines and general print and has a turnover of about £1.5m.

When Mrs Watts, of Higham Ferrers, joined up she worked alongside Stanley’s son Donald and later with Donald’s son Andrew who sadly died in 2009. Today she continues to work with Andrew’s sister Marguerite and brother-in-law Phil Brown.

She said: “I’m not a member of the Hunt family but you would think I was. They are a lovely family who have always ploughed everything back into the company.

“When I first came here a lot of our work was producing religious literature for church societies in Fleet Street and we still do a lot of religious literature as well as commercial and education materials.

“I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve seen a lot of changes. The work used to be very labour intensive but new technologies have changed that.

“I’ve always found print very interesting, particularly in the past when we used to receive handwritten notes and turn them into a journal. In addition to that I enjoy it because every job is different.”

The company is currently working on a series of new marketing initiatives and has also just agreed to sponsor the roundabout near Waitrose in Rushden.