TWO local Marks & Spencer employees have celebrated a combined half a century of service.

Beryl Williams, who works at the store in Festival Place, Basingstoke, and Raymond Taylor, who works at M&S’ Simply Food store at Chineham Shopping Centre, were treated to a champagne reception at the retailer’s headquarters in London, for each clocking up 25 years of service.

The occasion was a thank-you from Marks & Spencer for their dedicated and enthusiastic customer service – and they were not alone as they were among 106 other long-serving colleagues from across the UK who, between them, have chalked up 2,860 years with the company.

Beryl said: “We’ve always loved our jobs and it’s fantastic to mark our anniversary and share stories with so many other long-serving M&S colleagues from across the country. The trip to London was pure indulgence and a lovely way to celebrate 25 years.”

Among the long-serving employees were 14 who were there to celebrate 40 years with Marks & Spencer.

Sacha Berendji, M&S director of retail, said: “We’re incredibly proud of our loyal workforce and we always enjoy recognising and celebrating important milestones, like our colleagues achieving 25 and 40 years’ service with M&S.

“To be raising a glass and toasting more than 100 staff this year is a real testament to the quality and dedication of our employees.

“Our stores have evolved signifi-cantly over the years, but good customer service is still central to everything we do at M&S.”