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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

‘Mother’ June bows out on a Special day

THE longest-serving employee at one of Tynedale’s biggest business success stories has said farewell to the company she helped launch over a decade ago.

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Retiring: Business development manager June Hill, who has retired from The Specials Laboratory, in Prudhoe.

June Hill has retired from her role as business development manager at pharmaceutical company, The Specials Laboratory, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of unlicensed medicines, also known as ‘specials’.

Affectionately known as ‘mother’ to many of the current team, Mrs Hill’s departure was an emotional day for everyone at the business.

As one of the three original staff members who got the company off the ground at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, she has played an instrumental role in growing the business, which today employs around 140 people.

“I remember the day we received our MHRA licence to manufacture products,” she recalled.

“It was a great feeling after three months of intense waiting. It really felt like: ‘This is it – the start’.

“Before we knew it we were moving to a huge facility in Prudhoe, which felt like a dream!”

The Specials Laboratory has gone from strength to strength over the last decade, winning multiple awards and enjoying year-on-year growth in both sales and staff numbers.

Major honours have included being crowned North-East Small Business of the Year, listings in the prestigious Sunday Times Fast Track 100 list and a profile in The Financial Times.

During her time with the company Mrs Hill, from Whickham, has also been customer service manager and customer relations manager.

Previously she had spent 32 years at AAH Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

“Although The Specials Laboratory has changed and progressed over the years, its passionate culture and team work ethic has remained the same,” she said.

“Furthermore, as we said on day one, the patient always comes first and will remain the reason for the company’s existence.

“I am extremely proud to have helped create such an amazing business and am very grateful for the support and appreciation I’ve received over the last 10 years.”

In the coming months, Mrs Hill, who has one daughter, plans to spend some quality time with her family at Christmas, followed by taking on charity work helping children.

Specials managing director Sharon Griffiths said: “June has always gone the extra mile and will be a big miss to our management team.

“She demands hard work from others and leads by example.

“She has always been passionate and has the knack of engaging both customers and colleagues alike.

“As a result, she has built many lasting friendships, which I am sure will be kept alive over the coming years.”

Specials founder Fiona Cruickshank, who last year sold the business to Irish company United Drug, said: “June is part of the foundations at The Specials Lab and is a major reason why the business is where it is today.

“From the day we started, she was always the driving force.

“Often the first in and last out, June is fantastic and I could always trust her with anything.

“She will be greatly missed, but I’m sure her legacy will continue for many years to come.”

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