Former clothing factory colleagues enjoy reunion

Chairmaine de Vries,67, and Joan van Harte,56, were happy to see each other again. They show an old photograph of Ms De Vries at the Spring Queen contest.

Former colleagues at a Maitland clothing factory that closed down almost 20 years ago met for a picnic in Bridgetown on Saturday to reminisce about the good old days.

Geraldine Rudimuldu, 67, organised the reunion at the Nantes Park.

She was a trims buyer at Riviera Fashions for 22 years before it closed 18 years ago.

Ms Rudimuldu described their time at the factory as among the best years of their lives.

“We are all like a big family. We are so close and want to keep this family bond and friendship going for many more years.”

Latiefa Adams, 65, worked at Riviera for 42 years as a sample machinist in the designing room.

“We still talk so much about our time there. There will never be another workplace like it. We were sad when we were retrenched when the company closed down. Some of our colleagues went to work for Bonwit and the Seardel Group.”

Ms Rudimuldu and Ms Adams still kept in touch with a former director of the company, Di Berrill.

“Latiefa and I went to Ms Berrill to share in the celebration of her 100th birthday last year,” Ms Rudimuldu said.

According to Patricia “Nancy” Collison, 74, you could arrive at the factory without food or bus fare and needing clothes, but you would have it all by the time you went home.

“Ons was nooit verlore nie. If somebody died, we would all go to the funeral. We always had each others backs. I was a lucky woman — whatever I asked for, I would get.

“The founder and boss, Issy Berrill would jokingly ask me to go away from his office whenever I was there, because he knew I would be there to ask for money for someone in need. He could not say no to me,” Ms Collison said.