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It's party time for the Florida family

PUBLISHED: 09:03 26 September 2012

Florida Group staff reunion in Norwich Working Men's Club. Photo: Steve Adams

Florida Group staff reunion in Norwich Working Men's Club. Photo: Steve Adams

Archant Norfolk 2011

Did you ever work at Van Dal, part of the Florida group at Norwich? If you did then this is your chance to meet up with old friends.

It is the Norwich shoe company which has survived and today the hand of friendship is reaching out to all the men and women who have worked there over the years.

The name is Van Dal – part of the Florida Group – and it still makes high quality shoes which women want to buy because they look good and feel good.

Yesterday I told you all about the end of Bally Shoes in Norwich and how plans to build a superstore on the site of the factory on Hall Road where the company moved to in the 1960s have been thrown out.

Across the city on Dibden Road, near the edge of Mousehold Heath, it is a different story.

Florida Shoes were established during the 1930s and last year the company celebrated its 75th birthday.

Following your memories and photographs a reunion was held last October and it turned out to be so successful that a second one is now being organised.

“All are welcome with friends and partners,” said Alan Robinson who is helping to organise the party at the Norwich Working Men’s Club in St Gregory’s Alley, on Thursday, October 4.

At the first reunion a year ago about 80 people turned up and many hadn’t clapped eyes on each other for years.

“We had some from the old Salhouse Road factory to the present workers who are still at the Florida factory today,” said Alan, who spent 21 years in the clicking room. Everyone had such a good time it was decided to hold another one next year and now the time has come around. “I think we will have even more people this time,” he added.

The Florida shoe Company was established by Adelman Goodman in Norwich and among those at the reunion was his grandson and chairman of the company Simon Goodman.

“We had a terrific time. It was wonderful to see people I hadn’t seen for such a long time, “ he said

He paid tribute to the staff, past and present, saying they had been so loyal and hard-working over the years – often during difficult times,

The Florida reunion is at the Norwich Working’s Men’s Club, St Gregory’s Alley – a place where many shoe makers went during the golden age of shoe production – on Thursday, October 4 from 7pm. More details from Alan Robinson on 01603 487588.

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