30 year reunion to take place for Burney’s Bakery staff

Date published: 28 February 2018

A 30-year reunion is to take place in June for staff who worked at a local bakery.

The reunion has been organised by Yasmin Ibrahim, who worked at Burneys Bakery on Dodgson Street, Rochdale from 1984 until its closure in May 1988.

Yasmin, who moved to Suffolk in 2000, said: “I got the job through my sister, Naz, who had already worked there for a number of years. This was my first full time job after leaving college and was only supposed to be temporary during the summer whilst I waited for a nursing placement. I loved it so much that if it hadn't closed down I could still have been working there.

“I was sad when it closed and everyone moved on. I know Les went on to open his own bakery – Whites – in Middleton and Terry opened a cake shop called The Apricot Meringue in Clitheroe, but most people only stayed in touch for a year or two then life got in the way and we all moved on.”


Burney’s Bakery staff 30 years ago
Burney’s Bakery staff 30 years ago


Whilst there, Yasmin worked in the finishing room for around a year, producing baked goods such as beestings, iced fingers, gateaux and Bavarian slices. She then moved to the cake room, where she was taught to make birthday, wedding and other celebratory cakes.

Yasmin recalled: “The finishing room was run by Jim and the cake room by Audrey. I would say there were over 50 staff members across the bakery, split into different departments like bread, celebration cakes, pies, pot washing, dispatch, delivery drivers, office and finishing.

“Most of the staff have not seen each other since the bakery closed. So far, we have been able to track down Andy Dalton, Jon Quinn, Mark Sutcliffe, Jeanette Holt, Les White and Sheila Busettil. I remember working with The Higgs brothers, Mark and David, The Whatmore sisters, Michelle and Samantha, brothers Gavin and Howard, Mick and Ron, Mark Leeming, Wilma, Kevin Coleman, John, Maria, David, Terry and Kathy."


Burney’s Bakery staff 30 years ago
Burney’s Bakery staff 30 years ago


Yasmin added: “The thing that I remember most about working at Burneys was that we all got on so well, just one big happy family. I remember the beef soup from the vending machine and if you got it right you could get two drinks and pay for just one, the walk-in freezer where sometimes someone would ’accidentally’ get locked in as a joke, and getting to try out new products before they were sent to our 17 shops, especially the frankfurters wrapped in croissants (whoever thought that would go down well in Lancashire).

“We spent lunch breaks in the Bonnie Dundee where we would organise trips out to places like Blackpool and the Bier Keller in Manchester. Most Saturday nights were spent in and around Rochdale or Oldham town centre. For my 21st birthday, a lot of us went to The Manor then onto the Koh I Noor for an Indian before getting home around 4am in the morning. Jon Quinn introducing me to American Football and spending Sundays cheering on the Manchester Allstars.“


Burney’s Bakery staff 30 years ago
Burney’s Bakery staff 30 years ago


The reunion will take place at 7.30pm on Saturday 16 June at The Kingsway Hotel, Rochdale.

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