The County Times has taken in its stride just about every natural and man-made disaster thanks to its accounts manager Cathy Bateman.
Despite fire on the first floor and flood in the basement, nothing has fazed Cathy - who said farewell to the newspaper last week.
Colleagues gathered for a special presentation made by managing director Karl Dimmock who praised her tremendous contribution to the business over 29 years.
Cathy, who joined the West Sussex County Times team as a receptionist at the age of 26, has seen through eight managing directors and the company’s transition from independently family-run to the corporation it is today.
Husband Brian is rightly proud.
“She’s been tremendously vital and hugely important in Johnston Press,” explained Brian, who is set to celebrate 25 years of marriage to Cathy next year after meeting her on the paper.
“She’s a terrific person and I’ve had people say to me how sad they are to see her go. She’s totally reliable, the power behind the throne, has held it all together and is the unsung hero quite honestly.”
Born in Winchester and brought up in Warwickshire, Cathy studied at Birmingham Technical College of Food and Catering and started out in hotel management, working at the Kings Head in Horsham, but felt she could do with a new challenge.
Cathy then went from receptionist into advertising and then to accounts, she’s worked her way up and has been a highly valued member of the executive team.
Aside from work, Cathy has many hobbies including cake decorating, is never seen without her Kindle and has visited 50 countries in the last 12 years through her love of travelling.
She loves the exotic travel the most and has been with Brian to places as diverse as the Gobi Desert, Amazon Jungle, Victoria Falls and the Great Wall of China which is somewhere she’s always wanted to go.
Mark Knight MBE, financial controller at Johnston Accounting Centre (JAC) in Peterborough gave testimonial to Cathy’s long service adding she is ‘one of a kind’.
“ Her skill set, personality and caring nature will be missed. In life you come across many people, some of these you place in that special section mainly because they are really nice people who you are privileged to be associated with and our Cathy falls in that special section,” said Mark.
“I and the rest of the JAC Team wish her the very best for the future.”