After a 60-year career in timber Peter Kershaw has retired from North-Yorkshire-headquartered timber merchants NYTimber.

Kershaw was Managing Director of NYTimber from 1996 to 2009, then continued to work part-time with the business on specialist products, sales and some staff training.

The first step in Kershaw’s timber career was all down to chance. He left grammar school in December 1962, aged 17, with one GCE and was applying for jobs.

He took the first job he was offered at Thomas Aspden, an independent timber merchant in Blackburn, as a Stock Clerk. He then had a variety of roles in the office. A few years’ later the company was bought by Southern’s Ltd.

By then, Kershaw was studying for his Institute of Wood Science Certificate which he gained in 1967, attending Manchester College of Building and Manchester University after work. He had moved into sales, further promotions followed, and he joined the company’s in-house management training scheme.

In 1974, a move to a contractor then to a large joinery company as a Buyer gave Kershaw first-hand experience from the customer’s perspective.

Kershaw joined NYTimber at Northallerton in 1985, having been invited to do so by the company’s founder, David Cook. The two had met and become friends in the early 70s while working for Southern’s at Blackburn.

“Given the fairly general nature of the first job I had I’ve been very lucky being able to make a career in the industry working with a product I love,” said Kershaw.

“My move to NYTimber was definitely the most significant part of my career. There have been highs and lows, but overall it has been a very enjoyable time. I have met many people in the trade who are still friends.

“I think it’s important to be reliable, honest and work hard. My advice to anyone building a career in timber would be to take every opportunity to study and keep learning about the industry and the products you are dealing with. See timber wherever you can - in its natural state, in production, as a finished product.”

Kershaw was involved in organising fundraising golf days for the Timber Trades Benevolent Society for 15 years while working at NYTimber.

Tom Andrews, Trade Branch Director at NTG England, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Peter, he is 100% customer centric.

“His product knowledge is extremely impressive and the way he works with colleagues has been great to see too, he is very patient and understanding.”

Nick Kershaw, Kershaw’s son, became Managing Director of NYTimber in 2009, and is now Managing Director of National Timber Systems, also part of National Timber Group, which NYTimber became a part of in 2018. He commented: “Peter has a vast knowledge and passion for all things timber. Over his long career he has led the way in aiming for service excellence through commitment to his customers, staff and suppliers. 

“On behalf of all at National Timber Group, we wish Peter a long and happy retirement.”