Kettering woman retires after 50 years of factory work

Trevor Cunnington, Louise Cunnington, Wayne Cunnington, Brendon Drage and Bev McLaughlin
Trevor Cunnington, Louise Cunnington, Wayne Cunnington, Brendon Drage and Bev McLaughlin

A shoe worker from Kettering can finally put her feet up after working in the shoe trade for more than 50 years.

Louise Cunnington, manager of the Church’s Shoes factory in Morley Street, said goodbye to her 42 members of staff with a farewell buffet.

Louise Cunnington is the manager of the Church's factory in Morley Street

Louise Cunnington is the manager of the Church's factory in Morley Street

She has worked in the industry since her 15th birthday, first working for Dolcis in Tennyson Road, Kettering, before ending up as a factory manager.

Mrs Cunnington, 68, originally moved down from Glasgow with her mother to Corby, but when her family moved back up north, she decided to stay.

Needing a place to stay and a job, she knocked on the door of the Dolcis factory where she was told at 14 she was too young to be employed.

Three days later on her 15th birthday, she called again and was given a job on the spot, leading to a lifelong career in the local shoe industry.

Louise Cunnington with friends and colleagues

Louise Cunnington with friends and colleagues

Starting on £3 a week, she married fellow shoe worker Trevor, who worked at the nearby Mobbs Miller factory, two years later.

After Dolcis she worked as a shoe stitcher and marker for The British Shoe Corporation, which became Burlingtons and later The Rutland Shoe company.

Louise said: “I’ve always worked hard but I’ve enjoyed working for Church’s the most because I was given the opportunity to build up my own team.

“I’m going to miss everyone here, they are such fantastic, highly skilled, brilliant workers, some of them I have known since they were 15.”

Stuart Nutt, regional closing manager for Church’s, said: “Louise will be a hard-act to follow.”