Queen of Cakes takes her final bow

The longest serving member of staff at Wales’s oldest craft bakery has finally hung up her apron.

Gloria Davies, 69, from Buckley, has just retired after working for the Wrexham-based family firm, Gerrards, for 41 years.

She was the area supervisor with responsibility for the award-winning bakery’s 15 shops across North Wales and the Wirral.

As a retirement gift, Gloria and husband, Albert, 74, enjoyed a two-night break at the Portmeirion Hotel set in the magical Italianate village created near Porthmadog, in Gwynedd, by the Sir Clough Williams-Ellis.

Appropriately, she was also presented with a beautiful cake decorated with a picture of her taken in 1971, the year she started with Gerrards.

After paying tribute to the incredible support she’d received from Albert, Gloria said: “I have really enjoyed working at Gerrards. I’ve got some very fond memories of working here  over the years.”

Gloria  was born at Leasowe on the Wirral where she left St George’s secondary modern school at 15 and went to work at a pharmacy. Albert, from Wallasey, worked as a motor mechanic for the GPO in Birkenhead.

After a spell working for the Timothy Whites chemists chain at Chester, Gloria switched to a delicatessen and cake shop in Buckley, which was taken over by Gerrards. Albert meantime transferred to the GPO in Mold.

The couple have two children, twins Andrew and Helen, and three grandchildren.

Gerrards, established in 1838, is now being run by the sixth generation of the Gerrard family, Dawn van Rensburg and her husband, Dirk.

Gloria’s role as area supervisor involved passing on her experience and enthusiasm to more than 130 staff  at shops in Bangor, Llandudno, Mold, Buckley, Wirral (two shops), Wrexham (four shops), Bala, Corwen, Chirk, Gresford and Llangollen.

She also supervised the fleet of eight sandwich vans that supply offices, factories and business parks in North Wales, Shropshire, Cheshire and the Wirral with freshly baked products.

Dawn said : “I’ve known Gloria since I was a child , she’s an incredible woman.

“She’s been a real mainstay of the company, providing so much support to all the staff. Her  loyalty has been remarkable, she is very much part of the family.

“We will miss Gloria terribly but we certainly won’t lose touch with her.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Dawn’s father, Philip Gerrard Jones, who ran the company for all his working life until he passed on the baton to his daughter and her husband Dirk.

Mr Gerrard Jones recalled: “Gloria was the assistant manager of a delicatessen we bought in Buckley which is the shop that is now our bakery.

“With Gloria in charge, the display was wonderful, the staff were all turned out immaculately and her figures were always spot on.

“She became the perfect manageress and she was the logical choice to become the  shop supervisor.

“We are obviously sad to see her go but we wish her and Albert a lovely retirement.”

For her part, Gloria certainly doesn’t intend putting her feet up.

She added: “I really enjoy painting to I’m going to go back to my art and I’m going to start bowling and cycling again.”

Albert, who retired 19 years ago, is now looking forward to seeing much more of his wife.

He said: “She always enjoyed her job with Gerrards and she was treated very well by the family.

“We are going to be able to get out and about which is something we’ve not done much  before.  I’m looking forward to it.”

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