In the summer of 1984 the Miners’ Strike reached its peak with the Battle of Orgreave, unemployment in the UK topped 3.25 million and in a small Barnsley village, Eric Thornton opened the doors of a new accountancy practice.
During the past 30 years, Cudworth-based Thorntons Accountants has advised many Barnsley-based entrepreneurs, but during the late 1980s and 1990s the company used much of its expertise to help ex-miners use the skills they had developed in the colliery to establish successful businesses of their own.
Today, many of those fledgling businesses have gone on to become household names in their respective industries and as a result, Thorntons has grown from a business employing just one accountant in 1984 to a busy practice with 10 full-time members, including three partners.
Gavin Spencer, Steve Heeley and Mathew Parsons all began their careers as trainees with the firm, progressing through the ranks and going on to secure senior positions in the business.
Today, the company’s ethos of encouraging staff to develop and grow remains an important part of the business and Thorntons is planning further expansion by recruiting a new apprentice to the firm.
Steve Heeley, who is today a partner, said: “Since 1984 there has been a dramatic transformations in the local economy.
“When the company was formed, few people considered self-employment as a career, but as the mines and steelworks closed, many were able to lay the foundations of a wide variety of new businesses.
“Some of the businesses we have helped to nurture over the years have gone on to become very successful in their own right, responsible for employing hundreds of people throughout the region and we continue to represent some of the businesses that first starting using the firm when it opened its doors.
“All of our senior staff members began their careers as trainees in the firm.”