Cleaning company Poppies Durham celebrates milestone anniversary

Poppies Durham was founded in 1983 by former schoolteacher Elizabeth Richardson, to provide domestic help and carry out cleaning chores

Elizabeth Richardson with Carol Yeo
Elizabeth Richardson with Carol Yeo

A business which has been keeping homes and offices spick and span for three decades is celebrating a milestone anniversary.

Poppies Durham was founded in 1983 by former schoolteacher Elizabeth Richardson, to provide domestic help and carry out cleaning chores.

In that time, the Poppies team has cleaned thousands of homes for everyone from students and landlords, to university academics, footballers and even lords and ladies.

But 66-year-old grandmother-of-three Richardson has no intention of hanging up her duster wyet. She said: “After my two children had started school I was looking to return to work but it was difficult get back into teaching. I heard about the Poppies cleaning franchise and thought it may be an opportunity for me.

“It was perhaps the hardest decision I have had to make in my life because I was starting with no business experience at all. It was a huge change from teaching but I’m still enjoying it 30 years later.”

Richardson is the longest-serving Poppies franchisee in the country and now employs 47 staff with more than 200 customers on her books across Durham City, Washington and County Durham.

Most use Poppies for weekly house cleans, household chores and spring cleans.

But Poppies also has an impressive roster of commercial clients including Durham Business Club, the Durham Aged Miners’ Association and the Oasis factory in Washington.

Former Newcastle United footballer Robert Lee and manager Sam Allardyce were also Poppies clients while living in the area.

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