“I remember the day I started as if it was yesterday,” says Hazel. “I was an extremely shy 15 year old. I left school on 23 May and came here on 1 June. To be honest, I’d really wanted to be a hairdresser and while I could have done the styling, I would have been too quiet to cope with chatting to any of the customers.”
Hazel began her career in the general office team, where a number of the CooperBurnett team have started out, included Gareth Warner, who is now head of accounts.
“While there, I was encouraged to go to night school to learn how to type, which I did,” says Hazel. “With this skill under my belt, I moved into the word processing team (as was) and stayed there for six years. After that, I became a secretary.”
Hazel spent nine years working in the commercial department and then another nine years working directly for Nigel Burnett, the then Senior Partner.
“During my time with Nigel, I got involved with some residential property work and realised that I really enjoyed the interaction with clients which that offered,” says Hazel. “So, when the opportunity arose, I moved across into the residential property team.”
When she’s not at work, Hazel enjoys walking and trips to the cinema and theatre, as well as spending time with her two nieces.
“More than 30 years is a long time to work somewhere, but I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else,” says Hazel. “It’s a lifetime really and, as a team, we’ve seen each other through good times and bad. This isn’t just somewhere I work, I really care about CooperBurnett and feel a real sense of duty towards the firm.”
She adds: “What I have noticed time and time again over the years, is the number of clients who come back to us. I think it’s due to the excellent service we offer, the trust they’ve built in our firm and also the continuity here, which means they get to deal with the same people. That really makes a difference.”
Lorraine Constable works with Hazel in the residential property department and has been in that team for nearly the entire time she’s worked at CooperBurnett.
“I joined the firm in 1996 as a float secretary but, within two weeks, a job came up working for Jonathan Smithers, then head of residential property, and I ended up working with him for 19 years,” says Lorraine. “My role has changed over the years, with more technology and more regulation coming in, but what hasn’t altered is how friendly we are as a firm and the great service we offer our clients.”
She continues: “I know that our clients appreciate that, as I still talk to some of the same ones I dealt with when I started more than 20 years ago.”
When she’s not at work, Lorraine enjoys travel, particularly cruises, and visiting both the cinema and the theatre.