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Arrivederci to our 1976 Classmates

The meaning of the Italian word arrivederci is ‘goodbye, until we meet again’. Since Greaves West & Ayre opened our doors in 1918, we have said arrivederci to some long-standing members of our team and this year is no different.

Tommy Wilson and Brian Simmons, who have been with GWA for a combined total of 93 years, are starting their well-deserved retirement. Brian and Tommy both joined GWA in 1976 after leaving Berwick Grammar School and are two of our longest serving members of staff. They have played an important part in delivering our Quality Advice Quality Service over all those years.

The whole GWA team sends their very best wishes to Brian and Tommy for a long, happy, and healthy retirement. They will both be greatly missed; however, we hope to keep in touch, and meet again in the future.

Tommy Wilson

Tommy is an established and key member of our tax department. Like all our Berwick team, Tommy is based in our Walkergate office. Prior to this he worked in four different GWA locations, his first being in Sandgate after leaving school. In addition to Tommy and Brian, two other 1976 classmates Anthony Hogg and the late Graham Hush, who became a GWA Partner, joined the firm within months of each other.

When Tommy joined GWA there were four partners. He remembers being told that he was not allowed to use a calculator and all calculations had to be completed manually. When Tommy retires in March 2023, he will be leaving 13 Partners and it is likely that they will all be using calculators today!

When we spoke to Tommy about his retirement, he told us he has no set plans but is looking forward to spending time on home improvements and being able to devote more time to his garden. He used to travel overseas quite a lot with his father, taking 21 trips together over a 12-year period, a tradition that continued until his father reached the ripe old age of 88. Tommy is planning to add to his travel journal and has set his sights on a couple of long-haul trips to Japan and to New Zealand where he has relatives

Brian Simmons

Brian retired from GWA at the end of January following more than 46 years of service. After leaving Berwick Grammar School he soon became an important member of the GWA accounts department.

Brian told us he had very much enjoyed his career at GWA. Looking back, he can’t believe the firm has grown so much during his time here. When he first started he remembers there were around 20-30 staff members, now there are over 140. Brian has always been happy and willing to pass on his many years of knowledge experience and lend a hand in training new staff, some of whom are now Partners. One thing he knows he will miss is the great office rapport and camaraderie.

When asked about his plans for his retirement Brian said “I have no firm plans yet, I am very much looking forward to putting my feet up for the first few months and spending some quality time with my family. It will be nice to do what I want to do with no timescales involved, however it’s going to take a little getting used to”.

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