Cwmbran shop worker turns 90
9:02am Saturday 21st September 2013 in News
A CWMBRAN cashier who celebrates his 90th birthday tomorrow is not thinking of giving up his day job any time soon.
Reg Buttress began working at Sainsbury's Cwmbran branch in 1981 before moving when the current store opened in 1994.
Having initially retired aged 65, he was asked to return to work soon after. But it is not the only job he has ever had.
The Pontnewydd man said: “I started working when I was 13 at the colliery in Hafodyrynys, and was there for eight months.
“I was struck off and then had to go on the dole – the only week in my life when I haven’t worked!”
In 1937, aged 14, he moved to Birmingham on an unemployment scheme, eventually earning 14 shillings a week.
One day, aged only 15, Mr Buttress recalls cycling from his home in Pontypool to his work in Birmingham with a new bike his father had bought him.
“It took me two days, but the traffic wasn’t as bad in those days,” he added. “I slept under a hedge on the way up.”
He stayed in Birmingham until the war, where the place he lodged got bombed and so he had to look for pastures new.
Mr Buttress found work on the Great Western railways in Pontypool where he became a steam engine driver, which had been his “ambition as a boy”.
He is also the current president of the Pontypool and district rugby union, having been a referee himself for more than 30 years.
Mr Buttress works every Thursday and Friday and intends to continue working “for as long as I can”.
He added: “I still enjoy it. I’ve made a lot of friends and I like talking to people, and helping elderly people to get their stuff into the car even if it’s raining!”
Dave Ball, Sainsbury’s Cwmbran store manager, said: “Reg is what I would call a legend.
“When it comes to the fundraising, which is a big part of what we do here, he is always keen to help out and dress up for a good cause.
“People come and shop here just to see Reg. He is that iconic to the store.”