Essex NFU stalwart retires after more than 30 years
PUBLISHED: 08:47 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 08:47 08 June 2018
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A familiar face to farmers in Essex has stepped down after more than 30 years.
Colchester Group Secretary Philip Breary has spent 34 years with the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and rural insurer NFU Mutual.
“I know everybody makes the same observations but I can honestly say I have thoroughly enjoyed my career. I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed,” he said. “From starting in 1984 I have seen a huge number of changes in the way in which we work and transact our business, starting with paper ledgers and files for everybody to now where everything is computerised. One of the biggest benefits during my time has been the advent of the mobile phone, meaning that whenever we want to contact a farmer we did not have to either catch them at breakfast time lunch time or tea time.”
Philip started out in Winchester and Romsey, moving to Colchester in the 1980s, where he was assistant group secretary to David Pearce and John Jackson.
“I like to think we formed a successful partnership, providing a good level of service to the farmers and the horticultural sector, which was a very significant part of the branch at that time,” he said
In May 2003, John Jackson retired and Philip continued to work in partnership with David Pearce until he sadly had to retire due to ill health in 2007.
“In 2008 I was appointed as the Senior Agent and am proud to be leaving the agency and NFU branch in the strong position it is today,” he said.
“In 2010 I was joined in partnership by Tom Berryman and we were able to take on more staff and watch the business continue to grow to be the success it is now.
“All this would not have been possible without the wonderful support and commitment from the branch staff.”
Last year, Lewis Spooner joined Philip and Tom in partnership and Philip said Lewis had played a significant role in helping with the continued success of the agency.
NFU Essex county aAdviser Adam Scott said: “Philip has worked extremely hard for the NFU, NFU Mutual and on behalf of NFU members in the Colchester branch.
“He is hugely respected, and widely known, among the farming community in Essex and I’d like to wish him all the very best for a very well-earned retirement.”
Philip will now be taking a break for three months before returning to the agency on September 1 in a part-time role as an insurance consultant.