E J Hill & Son

Way back in Nineteen Fifty Nine

A man named Hill with son did sign

To set up business, duty bound

Each put in five and twenty pound

A workshop in North Petherton

Was home to E J Hill & Son

And using local-grown willow

They saw their business start to grow

They worked so hard, they could not stop

They needed goods to stock the shop

The days were long, their hands were sore

With joints deformed, bent like a claw

They wove the willow skilfully

And baskets came prolifically

The people flocked to buy their wares

And God had answered all their prayers

The orders came, they couldn’t cope

They hired some workers in the hope

That they would still a profit make

Though Government the tax would take

They grew until they had no space

To house the workers, and keep pace

With such demand for willow ware

They knew they had to move, but where?

Bridgwater was their chosen town

A unit they did buy just down

From M5, junction twenty three

Convenient with parking free

And people then became intent

On saving the environment

They felt concern for mother earth

And willow coffins had their birth

Thus fate was kind and business boomed

But danger round the corner loomed

A fire broke out, the place burnt down

The news ran quickly through the town

Despite their shocked and sorry state

Their customers weren’t made to wait

They paid their debtors straight away

Suppliers helped to save the day

Insurance came into its own

The bills were paid without a moan

A brand new workshop, showroom too

Were built in Two Thousand and Two

They renamed E J Hill & Son

To better suit work being done

The new name was its destiny

Somerset Willow Company

They celebrated fifty years

Of blood and sweat and sometimes tears

The local mayor and mayoress

Were there to honour their success

The local MP, VIPs

And several other dignitaries

Were also there to celebrate

With wine and food brought on a plate

And Aubrey gave a heartfelt speech

And thanked his workers one and each

And while the people looked upon

The Kingsbury Band played on and on

Thus father, son, and son and son

Have helped community go on

By sourcing willow locally

Sustaining life and industry

May long you prosper and survive

And through recession grow and thrive

You’ve shown us how to battle on

To win the day and carry on

by S Fielding

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