A well-known Highbridge resident is set to retire next month after almost five decades of business.

Geoff Thorne, 69, who runs Jester Prints on Highbridge’s Isleport Busienss Park, will retire in April after a career spanning nearly 50 years.

He intiially opened his T-Shirt printing business in 1976 from a spare room in his parents’ house.

“To start, I used simple iron-on transfers and thought I ought to make them myself and it was then that I got into screen printing,” he told Burnham-On-Sea.com.

“I had little knowledge in those early years and used second-hand screens stretched by hand, and a basic screen printing table, but it worked and our products started to become popular.”

“I used heat-cured transfers and needed extra space for the equipment so moved to a corrugated iron shed in Berrow initially before later moving into a flat in Burnham’s Abingdon Street. That was fine for a few years until I soon outgrew it again!”

“So I moved to a unit on Burnham’s Westmans Trading Estate in Love Lane which gave me more than enough space to further grow the operation and bring in proper equipment.  It allowed me to expand and grow and we were there for about 20 years.”

With the business rapidly growing, Geoff moved to a bigger unit on the Isleport Business Park in Highbridge around the year 2000 and the firm employed ten staff at its peak with thousands of orders coming in every year from customers around the world.

“It’s been quite a journey over almost 50 years but now is the right time to retire. There have been ups and downs like any business over the years. I’m now looking forward to retiring and spending more time relaxing with the family and my three grandchildren.”

“Jester Prints won’t continue, but M5 Textiles will be trading from this site in Highbridge and all the usual services will be available for customers.”

“A big thank you goes to everyone for their loyal support over the decades – it is greatly appreciated.”

He added a special thanks to his “dedicated and loyal” team of staff for all their work over the years: “All are longstanding, the longest serving member has worked here for 33 years now. My thanks go to them all.”

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