50 Years ago, in 1969 Harold Wilson was our Prime Minister; the media was full of stories about men on the moon, (the Beatles gave their last public performance; Concorde had its first test flight;) Woodstock happened and Richard Burton bought his then wife Elizabeth Taylor a 69-carat diamond ring costing a mere $1.5million! With all this excitement maybe we can forgive the press (even the local rags) for overlooking another momentous event in our more rustic history: the fact that Julian Harwood started work at Findon Post Office.
Harold Wilson once said that a week is a long time in politics, he certainly didn’t last 50 years in his business; and the Americans didn’t hang around very long on the moon; in fact all of the people and events mentioned here have disappeared into the pages of history. Luckily some people have more staying power and in our case it’s thanks to Julian that for the past half-a-century we have maintained a corner-stone of our village community.
When Julian’s family owned the business, it wasn’t our village store, rather it was our post office, newspaper/sweet store and a general all-round useful local shop that provided excellent service to its community. Whilst similar businesses all over the country have not survived (something that is frequently mentioned in the press), our store has thrived.
Many of us have happy memories of being served here over the years. When Julian took over the business we all fondly remember him at the helm with his Mother, Gwen, still assisting and both providing that warm welcome that makes you want to stick around and spend your money locally. An ethos and spirit that still exists today, thanks in no small part to Julian’s continued presence.
When Julian decided to sell the business the new owners, Tony and Karen, very sensibly retained Julian to run the Post Office,as did subsequent owners, meaning that through good times and bad the shop – by now the village’s main grocery store – always had that dependable main-stay that ensured that the community could sustain a Post Office, well-run by someone who could be relied upon to not panic, (even when his favourite team, Brighton and Hove Albion, were on a losing streak).
When the time came to revive our community store Julian was again a valuable asset, able to advise as well as help us set up a business that is now a nationally renowned example of how a well-run community cooperative should operate.
As a community we unite to say thank you to Julian for your past service and we express our sincere wish that you will stick around as a guide for others to follow your example. Findon is happy to echo the sentiment: “Thank you very much, thank you”.