From butcher to board director – 40 years and counting at Central England Co-op for long-serving Dave

A Birmingham man who has worked his way up from butcher to board director at Central England Co-op has been presented with a long service award after spending 40 years with the Society.

Dave Ellgood was just 15 when he started with the retailer as a butchery cleaner before soon going full-time as a butchery trainee at Central England Co-op’s Sheldon store, learning the meat trade and meeting his future wife Diane who had just started as a weekend sales assistant.

Forty years later and Dave is Retail Operations Manager, as well as a Board Director, completing a remarkable journey with the Society.

To mark the milestone, Dave joined 66 colleagues with a combined service length of 2,195 years at a special celebration event at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire to be personally thanked by Central England Co-op’s President Elaine Dean and Executive team for their commitment to the Society.

Dave, 56 and from Sheldon, said: “I was immensely proud to attend the awards with my colleagues and to have been with Central England Co-op for 40 years – it feels like just yesterday that I started.”

After his two years learning the meat trade and achieving his butchery qualifications at college, Dave ran various meat departments finishing at the retailer’s former Coventry superstore in 1990 where his team won a national co-operative meat competition, winning the title of Butchery Manager of the Year.

Dave then requested to gain further experience so moved away from butchery into fresh food and services working as a deputy manager in food stores in Stirchley, Coventry and Erdington before moving into a new role in the Society as a services manager at a new store in Derby.

He was soon ready to take on a store of his own, becoming store manager at a new store in Leicestershire before opening another new store as manager at Dibdale Road in Dudley. He moved into retail operations in 2001 and has continued there ever since, additionally becoming a board member in 2010.

Dave, a father-of two who has been married to his wife Diane for 33 years, said: “I have hundreds of highlights of my time at Central England Co-op but I am particularly and immensely proud to serve on the board as a director.

“Also being able to work and develop hundreds of colleagues, seeing them grow and become future managers has been hugely rewarding.

“I have really enjoyed being part of and involved in the Society, working with our colleagues, members and the community to make a real difference.”

Debbie Robinson, Chief Executive of Central England Co-operative, said: “It was a true pleasure to attend my first Long Service Awards at the Society and personally thank such inspirational colleagues who have dedicated their careers to Central England Co-op and to our customers, members and communities.”

Elaine Dean, President of Central England Co-operative, added: “It was wonderful to spend time with so many colleagues who embody the Co-op’s values and principles and who have shown such commitment to our Society. Their level of dedication is incredibly humbling and deserving of recognition.

“I am so very proud to be President of a Society with such a fantastic record of long serving colleagues.”

Other long servers in the West Midlands recognised at the awards included:

Christine Birch – Customer Services Assistant, Kingstanding Hawthorn Road Supermarket – 45 years

Barbara Williams – Customer Services Assistant, Lyndon Road Convenience Store, Solihull – 45 years

Lorna McDonald – Team Leader at Cotteridge Supermarket – 40 years

Gary Brooks – Store Manager at Erdington Supermarket – 30 years


Notes to editors

About Central England Co-operative

Central England Co-operative is one of the largest independent retail co-operative societies in the UK. 

It is a modern, forward-looking organisation employing over 8,000 staff, with the Society’s principal areas of activity being food, funeral services, travel shops, and property investment.

Central England Co-operative has over 400 trading outlets across 16 counties including; West Midlands, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.  The Society has an ambitious food store development programme for 2019.

Central England Co-operative is proud of its reputation for ethical business practices and corporate responsibility.  It is a member of Business in the Community, the membership organisation that stands for responsible business, and has also won many business awards for excellence.  The Society supports a number of charities including Dementia UK and invests a percentage of its trading profit into local communities.

Becoming a member of Central England Co-operative offers a whole host of benefits ranging from collecting points every time you spend in store to earn a share of the profits, access to members activities and community initiatives including the Community Dividend Fund, which hands out grants of up to £5,000 to charities and good causes across the Society’s trading estate.

Find out how to become a Central England Co-operative member by calling 0800 0501 601, emailing or visiting

For more information visit, follow Central England Co-operative on Twitter: @mycoopfood, and on Facebook:

Rob Smyth and James Brindle at Central England Co-operative on 01543 421390

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