THIS year marks Randall & Payne’s 135th year in business.

The company has survived a recession, the Depression and both World Wars.

They have gone from strength to strength, guiding and supporting businesses in and around Stroud for well over a century.

This year also marks the centenary of the birth of one of their former employees, who worked for the firm for some of his teenage years - poet and novelist Laurie Lee.

The ‘Cider With Rosie’ author started work at Randall & Payne in 1930 at the tender age of 15.

As he put it, “the greatest event happened in June, the 12th to be exact - I started work. Messrs Randall & Payne, Chartered Accountants, 4 Rowcroft, Stroud is the firm that has been fortunate in securing my services”.

He used to cycle to work with his violin slung over his shoulder.

His work was mostly errand running, organising the post, making the tea and writing up ledgers in neat, cursive hand.

Much to his boss, the obsessively tidy Teddy White’s fury, his penchant for writing flourished, with clients even complaining about the volume of poems he would leave strewn around the place.

He was paid 10 shillings a week and, by all accounts, enjoyed his time in the mahoganies, gas-lit office, but grew restless for change.

In 1934 he resigned stating that he was ‘not suited to office work’ and set off on his adventures.

Alan Payne, son of the Chairman, who joined the firm in 1933 and worked alongside Lee knew he had become very unhappy at work so was not surprised by his resignation.

Randall & Payne have been working with some of the same clients since 1932, so while there might not be anyone still at the firm who remembers Lee’s time there, he could well have done the books for companies still under Randall & Payne’s guidance today.

Laurie Lee’s job was taken over by Alan Payne and the firm continues to provide accountancy, business and tax services to companies in Stroud and throughout Gloucestershire - and are very proud to have secured the services of Stroud’s much beloved author all those years ago.