03 – LIFE STORY
Around the back of North Weald Airfield, within earshot of the drone of classic planes and high-performance cars speeding along the runways, is an un-prepossessing eighties warehouse which is home to Best Mailing Services UK (BMS) and HDCC member, Lyn Reed. Lyn has been managing director of BMS for “more years than I care to remember.” But it wasn’t always thus….
Her working career began at Rank Hovis McDougall, once owned by the famous J. Arthur Rank, who at one time employed over 3,000 people, many of them in Harlow. “I began as a punch card operator. I am not sure how many people today even know what that was.” She quickly progressed to NCR, tape encoder, operator and supervisor. The role was repetitive and she became disillusioned. “I needed something different,” she said, ‘something to get my teeth into!”
At this point, Lyn’s new husband had left the army and had a role within the security services, and she was approached by MI5. After an extensive interview and vetting procedure she was given a position at the Joint Computer Bureau and tasked to set up a Secure Remote Location in London, to take the manual registry records and computerise them. At the time all the records used to identify the potential connections of individuals to groups identified as a risk to National Security were kept on card. She sourced, interviewed and managed a team of twenty-five 18 and 19 year old girls who were employed to facilitate the three-year job. “It was a fantastic time,” Lyn laughs, “unfortunately I can’t tell you too much about it, or I’d have to shoot you..”
After 5 years with the security services she moved on, having been ‘headhunted’ for a role with the famous Bowker Publishing House in Epping – employed as their chief computer manager and programmer. However after 6 years, the company was asset-stripped by its American owners, Rank Xerox, and was forced to close. Lyn’s business brain went into overdrive and she approached Xerox and convinced them that they should support her new venture, Best Mailing Services. That was in 1985.
BMS are specialists in mailing services, print management, order fulfilment and data processes for all businesses. They were one of the first mailing and fulfilment houses to be accepted into the Royal Mail Strategic Partnership Scheme and have grown to become a respected provider of Direct Marketing Services throughout the UK and Internationally. Some of their clients include Kier, BAFTA and Kuoni. In March of this year she launched a Marketing and Fulfilment Hub with a local marketing agency, “One of the great lessons I have learnt in business,” she said, “is to try to be innovative, to move forward and try new avenues.”
A very big part of Lyn’s life is her charity work. She has been a Samaritan since 2009, a ‘Befriender’ at Mind, mentoring and leads a homeless centre for Crisis at Christmas. ‘ homelessness is not inevitable, we work together to end it ‘. The main image shows Lyn in the Himalayas on a charity trip with other Samaritans in 2012.
If you would like to contact Lyn at Best Mailing services you can give her a call on 01992 524343 or visit her website www.bestmailing.co.uk.
Samaritans Harlow :
Phone: 01279 421 308
Contact: Alison Wilson
Crisis at Christmas:
Tel: 0300 636 1967