July 22 1977 and a young lady who lived close to the ODRTS
office in Shirland Road went there to enquire about a job answering
telephones in the basement control room. In three weeks time, that same lady
will be celebrating her 25th anniversary with Dial-a-Cab!
At that time, Martin Gellman had just hung up his Chairman's
boots and Peter Fenneymore was about to get into a reign that would last
until 1984. In the meantime, young Ann Hughes didn't expect to last much
more than 25 days...
"I wasn't too enamoured with it at first," Ann told
Call Sign, "especially the night shift of 11.30pm to 8am. I was also
rather quiet and shy, so making friends during those night-time hours wasn't
easy, but I ended up doing over 19 years on that shift. I must have grown to
like the job somewhere along the line and I do seem to have got over that
After 19 years of the night shift - much of the time as a
Supervisor - Ann's health took a sudden turn for the worse and she decided
that a move to the evening shift, finishing at around 11.30pm, might be the
answer to restoring her health.
"I really loved working on the night shift by then and
didn't relish changing, but it became the best thing that I had ever
done," said a happy looking Ann, "although I remember feeling sad
at having to leave the telephonists who I had got to know so well and
especially night dispatcher Johnny Thwaites, one of the most amazing
people I have ever met. In all my 25 years with Dial-a-Cab, I can honestly
say that I have never met anyone else like him, he was truly outstanding, a
real character and a lovely, lovely man." But 25 years in one job is still
TWENTY FIVE YEARS ON - IT'S STILL DAC FOR ANN
Above: 25 years on and this time Brian Rice but Ann still
looks the same!!
a long time, what was it that kept Ann here for all that
time and still continues to draw her...?
"The truth is that I have been very fortunate in making
some very good friends at DaC, staff, drivers and members of the BoM. Add
that to the fact that I have enjoyed working here and at Shirland Road
for most of those 25 years and you have the answer."
Is there one especially happy or sad moment that Ann remembers clearly
during her long stay with the company...?
"Happy? There have been many, but as I've already said, I
really loved the night shift and virtually all my time there was happy. Sad?
I think that was when Jack Taylor died. There was an air of gloom over the
building when he passed away; he was such a lovely man. Few things have
remained in my memory longer that that of Jack's death. It was so sad and
I'll always remember that time."
And the $24,000 question; what does Ann think about successive
Boards...! "Well," said Ann, "I wouldn't like to compare, but
I have to say that every BoM have truly
looked after me very well
especially when I've had any health problems. I can't honestly say that I've
liked every Board member during those 25 years, but I've got on well with
every Chairman that I have worked under."
When Ann isn't working, she enjoys tending her garden. "I
love being in my garden and looking after it although I never thought that I
would. That is one thing that you could never do on the night shift because
you are usually tired during the day. And I'm a big Chelsea fan...!"
And one last question for Ann. Did she prefer DaC as it was on
voice or as it now is?
"I just can't tell you how anti-data I was, I was 101%
against it, so much so that I was tempted to resign.
However, at the changeover period I was in hospital and away from the office
for four months. By the time I was ready to return, we had gone over to data
and the company had been so good to me during my ill health that I felt
obliged to come back. When I did, much to my surprise, I loved the data
system and think that it left the voice system standing."
Ann will be going over to part time working soon, but what
"Oh I hope not for a long time," said a smiling Ann,
"does the Chairman need someone to make his tea...!"