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Accounting firm celebrates famous author's start

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 21, 2014

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Randall & Payne is marking well over a century in business by reflecting on one of its most famous employees.

The company has guided and supported businesses in and around Stroud for 135 years.

This year also marks the centenary of the birth of poet and novelist Laurie Lee, who worked at the firm for some of his teenage years.

The Cider with Rosie author started work at the company in 1930 at the tender age of 15. As he put it, "the greatest event happened in June, the 12th to be exact – I started work. Messrs Randall & Payne, Chartered Accountants, 4 Rowcroft, Stroud is the firm that has been fortunate in securing my services".

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He used to cycle to work with his violin slung over his shoulder. His work was mostly errand running, organising the post, making the tea and writing up ledgers in a neat, cursive hand.

Much to his boss, the obsessively tidy Teddy White's fury, his penchant for writing flourished, with clients even complaining about the volume of poems he would leave strewn around the place. He was paid 10 shillings a week and, by all accounts, enjoyed his time in the mahogany-furnished, gas-lit office, but grew restless for change.

In 1934 he resigned, saying that he was 'not suited to office work' and set off on his adventures. Alan Payne, son of the chairman, who joined the firm in 1933 and worked alongside Lee, knew he had become very unhappy at work so was not surprised by his resignation.Michael Antony, senior partner at Randall & Payne, said: "We are very proud to have secured the services of Stroud's much-beloved author all those years ago."

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