It was 50 years ago today that the Parkol company was formed by Ken Parker and John Oliver, with the name of the new venture being a portmanteau of the first parts of their surnames.

Ken Parker, also known as the “Black Knight” within the Whitby fishing community, serviced and repaired the fishing fleet in Whitby. When a major overhaul was required he would call in help from a firm from Newcastle, and John Oliver was one of the employees that was sent to do this.

John was approached by Ken to join the business and with the help and support of local businessman Jim Leadley Snr MBE, John decided to make the move to Whitby. Dedicated from the start, John and Esther were married on Saturday 27th February 1971 and the very next day they travelled down to Whitby where John started work with Ken on Monday 1st March 1971. Esther later joined them as Company Secretary.

Ken and John were always on 24-hour call out in order to keep the fishing fleet at sea. Some of these vessels were Success, Provider and Lead Us to name a few.

Their ‘office’ premises tended to be The Singing Kettle or The Duke of York.