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David Pedley with a cardboard trophy, created to celebrate GWP’s 25 years in business

Founder of packaging firm retires after 30 years

The founder and former CEO of Wiltshire-based packaging firm GWP Group has announced his retirement after more than 30 years at the helm.

With GWP having been purchased by Macfarlane Packaging back in March, David Pedley decided that it was the right time to retire.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at GWP – and am incredibly proud of everything we have achieved – but feel that now is the right time to step down, said David.”

“The hardest part is that I am really going to miss the people – pretty much all of my peers in the industry.

“I’ve made great friends amongst suppliers, competitors and obviously colleagues.

“I’ll miss the challenge of big projects and winning new contracts but, most of all, the people.”

Having founded Great Western Packaging – as it was then known – in August 1991, the business was initially based in a spare bedroom and employed only a handful of staff.

“At the start, we were all working extremely hard, 14 hours a day, 7 days a week,” recalled David.

“We would often be getting into work very early in jeans and t-shirts, working in the factory on production, then putting on a collar and tie and going out to meet customers during the day.

“Then we would be back in the factory, often working late into the evening. And then we would do it all again the following day. “

Although there were ups and downs along the way the business quickly became successful, eventually growing to more than 100 employees across two large, specialist manufacturing facilities at Cricklade and Salisbury.

“Even though it was very hard work, it was enormous fun, and to see the business grow the way it did has been hugely rewarding. In saying that, probably my happiest memory was day one, standing in an empty factory – at Lynton Road, Cheney Manor – when we first started, said David.”

As well as the business’ growth and success, there have been numerous other landmarks and events that are recalled fondly.

“A lot has happened over the 30 years GWP has been in business. We have been featured on BBC2, been honoured with a Royal visit to our factory, and even commissioned an art exhibition made entirely from cardboard to celebrate our 25th anniversary.

“Outside recognition – including Wiltshire Business of the Year and a number of Starpack industry awards – was also incredibly satisfying.”

Ruth Cook, who has been with the company since day one, and is now managing director, said: “David has lived and breathed GWP. Having been alongside him at GWP since day one, I have seen first-hand the drive, commitment, and acumen he brought to the company.

“When many would have sat back and celebrated the success of the business, David would always be out looking for the next step forward.

“He has been – and continues to be – an inspiration for me.

Pictured: David Pedley with a cardboard trophy, created to celebrate GWP’s 25 years in business

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