Maggi Speed Retires

maggiefarewellSome people just never seem to get any older and you expect them to go on forever but sooner or later we all need to face the reality that we will need to retire from full time employment at some stage.   Maggi Speed, who is so well known to all our SPCA supporters and also within the larger community of Howick and Hilton, came to this realisation a couple of months ago and informed her “boss” Retail Manager, Gunter Oellermann, that she would be retiring at the end of February.

An extremely well attended farewell party was held for Maggi last week.  I was asked to say a few words as I had known Maggi longer than most.   Maggi was on the Committee of the Howick SPCA when I first became involved 16 years ago.   She asked me to take a couple of hour’s stint on a white elephant stall at the Lions Fair.   Maggi and Basil ran the stall and it was obvious that they were both in their element.  Then, in mid 1996, Maggi together with Colleen Hughes was one of the instigators of the emergency public meeting that was called to draw attention to the dire situation the SPCA was in.  The SPCA was being kept going by a handful of staunch volunteers, most of whom had full time jobs, and the coffers had run dry.   Money was owed to the vets and there was not enough cash even to buy animal food.  This serious situation was outlined to the meeting and the question was posed – would the Howick SPCA have to close its doors or could it be saved?

The “think tank” came up with many suggestions to turn the situation around one of which was to open a charity shop.   We were offered shop premises in Bell Street, rent free for two months, and we decided to give it a go.   Flyers and posters went out calling for donations of goods and we were soon in business.   Maggi was the prime mover and her flair for sales was put to good use as we all got into a routine.   Our shop moved premises many times, always growing, and Maggi was the kingpin.   When we opened our second shop in Hilton, Maggi was the one who set it up and got it on its feet until we employed our first Shop Manager.  Later she was at it again, this time as a fully employed Shop Manager, setting up the spacious and popular Merrivale shop.   This one she refers to as her “baby”.

”I want to be able to spend more time with my family helping with our business at Alleman’s Drift” says Maggi.  Fortunately she will not be totally lost to us as we will still see her and Basil around Howick and we know she will always be ready to help wherever and whenever we need her.   She has a wealth of knowledge of all aspects of the SPCA, including the Animal Shelter where she worked for a while as Receptionist, all the different committees and of course, her forté, the Retail side.   There is no doubt about it, Maggi Speed set this SPCA on a course that not only turned it around but also developed a highly successful Retail component to keep us afloat.

Heather Somerville, PRO, uMngeni SPCA

Meet the team

Njabula Hlongwane

Njabula HlongwaneNjabula is a Receptionist and a Trainee Inspector. He helps out at the front desk with general office work and assists Jean and Linda when needed. He has been with the uMngeni SPCA for 18 months and is our friendly man who always has a smile on his face when you meet him.

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