Keith Rudman has worked at the Co-op since the 26th September 1979, that’s over 30 years. The most remarkable thing about this is that his parents were told that he was unlikely to live beyond 20. Keith is the subject of a book entitled Living with a Killer: A life with Cystic Fibrosis and in it he shares his remarkable life, including early memories of being a colleague at The Co-operative.

Here are extracts from the book written by Steve McHugh which talk about the company when he joined more than three decades ago.

On being given a job at The Co-operative

“And I’ve never forgotten that moment, the way the Co-op gave me a break when others wouldn’t, and I always have it in mind when I’m interviewing someone for a job myself these days.”

Memories of his early career:

miltown-memories-imageIt was with some trepidation that Keith got on the bus and went for his first day in the big, wide world at the Todmorden Co-op on Dale Street.

The Co-op in Todmorden was part of the Pioneers group, whose head office was in Rochdale and was spawned from Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society formed in 1844 at Toad Lane in the town – regarded as the birthplace of a company that was to become a household name.

Keith’s job title was store assistant, and he had to learn the ropes of a department that would not be many people’s image of the Co-op.

“I also had to wear a grey smock, which made me look like Granville off Open All Hours”

There was no food sold, the top floor being furnishings while the bottom floor showcased electrical, household and china and glass good.

It was one of a series of a then thriving Co-op block on Dale Street, including a chemist, launderette, foodstore, DIY shop, shoe shop, textiles and ladieswear shop, and a gents’ tailors.

“I also had to wear a grey smock, which made me look like Granville off Open All Hours”

“No-one could have imagined in those days that I would go on to enjoy a full working life for so long, or that 25 years later I would go on to manage the store that was regarded as the jewel in the crown in the area.”

Do you remember the Co-op in the 1970s or earlier? We’d love to hear your memories…

And if you’re interested in reading more about Keith’s story the book will soon be available to buy on Amazon.

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