Local Face: Cyril Mitchell

It is inevitable that when a person becomes the longest serving anything, it is not long before it is time for a successor. Cyril Mitchell has been serving the people of Wendover at 8, Aylesbury Road for 26 years. This must make him the most senior trader.

Cyril Mitchell is a Chilterns Man. He was born and bred in Buckland Common and educated at St Leonards C of E Elementary School. The youth of today might be surprised that he left school aged 13 years and 10 months and has been at work ever since. He really is a Man of the Nineties, though, because he has looked for work in different places during that long career.

His first work was Seasonal – fruit picking on a local farm in Buckland Common. Not glamorous, maybe, but absolutely essential, especially with the War on. When that came to an end he gained a position with Rodwells, the mineral drink manufacturer, in Tring.

At 16, young Cyril, increased his age by two years so that he could volunteer for the British Army. He spent the last two years of his service in Berlin and was demobbed from there in April 1948. Returning safe and sound to his girl Margaret, they were married in St Leonards Church on 9th October, 1948.

Once again it was time to find work and the local Brickworks at Bellingdon gave a steady living to a fit, healthy ex-soldier. By the mid-fifties, however, the Mitchells had started a family and it was time to become more career minded.

In 1960 Cyril moved to an electrical shop in Chesham and received Hoover training which allowed him to service a variety of electrical appliances. By early 1969 he was at the Sydney Law premises in Wendover where he remains to this day. Ten years later, in 1979, Cyril purchased the business and thereby became a proprietor.

His policy has always been friendly service with a smile and he feels he really knows the people of Wendover and they know him. His particular forte has always been vacuum cleaners and his loyal customers come from far and wide. He recognises that the “Big Boys” are always going to be able to offer a few pennies less on the price of certain goods but for free Cyril offers good sound advice and caring after sales service. Many customers have told him that they would not dream of going to one of those large, impersonal, massive stores. Many of his customers have been known to him since they started setting up home or indeed from childhood.

Cyril also feels particular loyalty to his customers. When he could see retirement age looming on the horizon he started to worry about who would look after them when he was no longer running his shop. To him it was vitally important that Wendover retained its electrical outlet because it compliments the other shops so well. It made him absolutely determined to ensure that there would be continuity and so it is for in April two new faces will be behind his counter.

Since the business went on the market, Cyril has received many different offers but he was most concerned about what business would be carried out on this site. He intends to stay living in Wendover because he likes it so much.

A favourite game he likes to play is to go through the alphabet with services available in Wendover: Architect, Baker, Builder, Butcher, Carpenter. . .. X just has to be excellent! He is sad that some long established local businesses have closed down but is equally confident that the inguenity of the new people starting up will keep Wendover as thriving community.

He is off to visit in-laws during a trip to the Far East but then looks forward to the opportunity to spend more time with his grandchildren who also live nearby.