A date to remember as Custom Credit colleagues reunite

TOGETHER AGAIN: Former Newcastle Custom Credit employees at their latest date-driven reunion on Wednesday at the Colliery Inn at Wallsend. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
TOGETHER AGAIN: Former Newcastle Custom Credit employees at their latest date-driven reunion on Wednesday at the Colliery Inn at Wallsend. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

THEY were workmates who became a tight knit group of friends that would play touch footy in their lunch break, and occasionally get busted by the boss piggy back racing in the office hallway.

They knew how to have a good time, and they did.

They were the staff at Newcastle’s Custom Credit, where locals went to get a loan before the days people sought finance directly from the bank.

On the seventh of the seventh in 1977 – 7/7/77 – staff in the “acceptance” department noticed the date and wondered what they would be doing “when the eights came up.”

“I have this thing for numbers,” Vicki Williams said.

“We decided we would try to meet up again on the eighth of the eighth, ’88. 

“We thought it would be fun to see what everyone was up to when the eights came up. Whether we’d all be married by then, whether we’d have any kids, what we were all doing with our lives.”

So they did. On the eighth step of Newcastle City Hall.

We thought it would be fun to see what everyone was up to when the eights came up. Whether we’d all be married by then, whether we’d have any kids, what we were all doing with our lives.

Vicki Williams

At 8am.

The Herald covered the story at the time.

The friends have since met up again on the ninth of the ninth, 1999, to continue the tradition.

And on Wednesday – the eighth of the eighth, 2018 – they again came together for lunch and a few drinks to remember the mischief and shenanigans they got up to back in the old Custom Credit days. Some people had traveled from as far as Mullumbimby and Brisbane.

FLASHBACK: The Herald's report on the group's 1988 reunion.

FLASHBACK: The Herald's report on the group's 1988 reunion.

But most of the crew were still living in the Hunter area.

“I don’t think it happens in many workplaces where you can keep friendships like we have,” Ms Williams said.

The four main staff members who concocted the original reunion plans in 1977 – Keith Wilson, Bev Folbigg, Judy Kennedy, and Ms Williams – were all at the lunch on Wednesday, joined by about 30 other former colleagues.

“Custom Credit was a subsidiary of the National Bank. We had a huge office that was originally next to where Spotlight is in town now,” Ms Williams said. “We grew and moved into a building next to where Rundles is in the west end.

“Because we were all young while we were working in that industry, we were lucky to receive some pretty good financial advice early on in our careers. Most of us had managed to buy our first house, or take out loans to start a business, by the time we were in our early 20s.

“Everyone has filtered out to be quite successful in the areas they went into. A lot of the people there are well known business people around Newcastle.”