Two friends, who gave up over 50 years at a big retailer to start their own business, have celebrated the ten year anniversary of their coaching company.

Linda Banister and Tracy Francksen both come from Doncaster originally, however both live and work in South Gloucestershire now.

Their business, Red Door Coaching & Training Ltd, is based in Chipping Sodbury and works with dozens of different organisations to deliver business training.

“For those who don’t know what we do, we aim to deliver coaching in leadership, interview skills, management programmes and a lot of other things,” Tracy said.

“It is great and because we are both so heavily involved, either of us can pick up any sessions with any of our clients.

"We work with two Associates Sally Anne and Debbie who help with this and have great admin support from our right hand woman Bella.

The duo help individuals with CV’s, providing coaching support, customer service training, leadership skills and many more.

A twist of fate brought the two together, however fate itself had tore the pair away from each other in the early 1980’s.

“After a few years of talking we discovered that we were actually supposed to start at the same Marks and Spencer’s store in Huddersfield together,” Linda said.

“We were both supposed to start our careers on the M&S Management Programme on the same day, however at the last minute they changed arrangements and sent Tracy to Cheltenham instead.”

The pair then continued their careers with M & S for nearly 20 years, never meeting each other until they were then brought together to job share the same role in Swindon store.

“I remember the very first day we met, we obviously didn’t know that we should have worked together for years already,” Linda said.

“We met in a car park to share transport there and immediately I lost my keys down a drain.

“Tracy then went in to her car and found a coat hanger and fished them back out for me.

"We got in the car and laughed about it all the way to the store, from then on we got along really well.”

Tracy and Linda shared their job at the Swindon store and moved on in their careers as a team.

“We interviewed for jobs together because we just wanted to show people that it could work," Linda continued.

"It was a situation where we both had children and both wanted to be part-time.

"We worked together in numerous job-shares for many years for M & S and were really happy there, but we were always saying that we wanted to do something together a little bit different.

“Then after over 50 years of working for the company combined, we both resigned to set up our own business.”

10 years ago the Red Door was formed.

"We just set ourselves up and started out as well-priced good quality training," Tracy said.’

"Our plan was also to try and play a big role here in the community and help other businesses in the area.

"This is why we served as Joint Chairs of the Sodbury and Yate Business Association for five years and have taken on a role as an Enterprise Adviser for Brimsham Green School."

Both of these roles are voluntary and just emphasises what the pair are all about, great friends that love helping others.

They celebrated their anniversary in late January, however there was no big party or celebrations, instead there was just another example of their community spirit.

"Instead of a party we have given money to the Foodbank in Yate," Linda said.

"It is such an important thing in the area and we try to support it as much as we can."