A LONG-STANDING stonemason has spoken of his ‘shock’ after being made redundant.
Alan Bedford, from Devonshire Road, Bognor Regis, worked for Cathedral Works Organisation for more than 40 years.
But the Chichester-based company announced it had gone into administration just over a week ago.
Worthing insolvency specialist IRL said it had laid off 73 staff with a core group left to ‘complete jobs’.
“Apart from the past couple of weeks, the company has been fine,” said Mr Bedford, master stonemason, site manager and supervisor at Cathedral Works Organisation.
“It did come as a shock. We were led to believe that we were going through financial problems but in a couple of weeks we would be fine.
“They told us not to worry – then we were done with.”
Mr Bedford said the company, which has its workshop in Terminus Road, actually ‘closed’ more than two weeks ago.
“We were still led to believe that another company will be taking it over and taking over the debts,” he said.
Mr Bedford said he hoped it wasn’t the end of the company.
“Hopefully someone will take over the premises and all the equipment.
“There’s still a skeleton workforce.”
The skilled stonemason has worked on Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and the Diana Monument Fountain.
The company was also well-known for taking on apprentices.
“I think there are two who are in the middle of their training,” said Mr Bedford, who did an apprenticeship with the company.
“In the local area we can’t find any other jobs.”
Mr Bedford said he might have to go self-employed if the company did not start up again.
“It felt like a family business.
“Now it is more cut-throat with the new management style.
“Without the likes of myself, the company will struggle. They can do the masonry, but when it comes to putting it together on-site, I’ve got the experience.
“I’ve got to keep my fingers crossed and hope they survive,” said Mr Bedford.
“Then I should be able to get some work out of them.”
The announcement of the closure has also saddened Chichester residents.
Stephen Pay said: “More people in Chichester out of work. It’s hard getting a job in this area. Very sad news.”
Kevin Farrell, from Chichester, said he had Chichester Works Organisation in to do some work a few years ago.
“They’re excellent craftsmen,” he said. “It’s such a shame.”