Ffestiniog Travel’s longest-serving employee Liz Turner has come out of retirement to help plan for a return to travel. TTG reports
When Liz Turner received a phone call from Ffestiniog Travel asking her to come out of retirement and rejoin the rail operator as a volunteer, she “didn’t think twice”.
After retiring at the age of 68 last year, Liz didn’t expect to be rejoining her former colleagues within 12 months to help the company deal with the impact of coronavirus.
“Although I retired last year, I’d been retained as a consultant and have had input in the company over the last year,” she explains.
“So when I got the call asking me to come back and do more on a voluntary basis, I was only too happy to do my bit to help.”
In her new voluntary role, Liz is busy working on Ffestiniog’s 2021 holiday brochure and planning new rail journeys in Switzerland and Norway for when it is safe to travel again.
Colleagues have been overjoyed to see Liz return, especially with the years of experience and expertise she brings to the company.
“If anyone has a question or needs advice on product or destinations I’ve made it clear they can ask me anything. It’s important to share your experience with the next generation,” says Liz.
Liz is Festiniog’s longest-serving employee on record, having joined in 1973 as a secretary to founding director Alan Heywood. During her years at the rail operator, she has carried out many roles within the company including working in admin, product control and dealing directly with customers.
“I did everything from helping to choose destinations to issuing tickets and dealing with suppliers,” she explains.
Liz says she particularly enjoyed interacting one-on-one with customers and organising bespoke itineraries for them. She has also led 100 tours during her time at the company.
“The best tour I ever organised was for a man to surprise his wife on their silver wedding anniversary. They travelled to Venice on the Orient Express and worked their way back through Europe. She had no idea where they were going until the morning they left,” she says.
Liz is optimistic about the role that train travel will play in a post-coronavirus world where people might be more cautious about flying.
“I would like to think that train travel will become much more popular and be given a boost,” she says.
Although Liz’s time back at work will end with the publication of Festiniog Travel upcoming brochure in August, she is glad to have done her bit for the company during the coronavirus crisis.
“When you look at what the NHS and other key workers are doing, my bit is incredibly small, but I want to do what I can to help both Ffestiniog and the travel industry to recover,” she says.
“There’s no place I’d rather be right now.”