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Phil Waters (left) being presented with a commemorative gift by Premier Paper Group Marketing Director David Jones

The Premier Paper Group has announced that Phil Waters, who works out of its Cheltenham and Bristol sales offices, is celebrating over half a century in the paper merchanting sector.

Phil enjoyed a successful rugby career spanning 14 years (approximately 300 games) playing as both a winger and as a centre at high level rugby; which saw him win three championships with three different teams - Newport, Pontypool and Bristol.

Phil’s debut game was for Newport in November 1968 alongside some well respected international players. The ‘Black & Ambers’ took on Cambridge University, Speaking fondly of his time on the pitch Phil recounts: “I enjoyed my time playing rugby. Playing a team sport at such a high level helped me to understand and appreciate the value of working as part of a team. That is something that I have taken with me throughout my life.”

The highlights of Phil’s rugby career include a tour of South Africa in 1979 with Newport and playing against the All Blacks in 1980 to celebrate the Welsh centenary, facing the Hakka is something he will never forget.

Phil’s rugby career sadly came to an end in 1982 after suffering an injury during a match against Llanelli. Phil began his career in the paper industry as a van driver and warehouseman with South Wales Paper, has said it’s all down to his good looks and awful jokes that he tells that he has survived this long in the industry.

Having stayed with South Wales Paper for over 20 years, progressing to outside sales and becoming a minority shareholder, Phil then moved on to Donald Murray Paper, where he was responsible for establishing their Bristol office from scratch.

He then joined Fyne Papers, where he first met current Premier Paper Group Chairman, Graham Griffiths. Whilst at Fyne Papers, Phil turned the Bristol office into the most profitable within the company, and was named Manager of the Year twice during his tenure. When Fyne Papers, part of Arjo UK Merchants merged with Wiggins Teape to form Antalis, Phil then moved on to Beswick Paper, having been recommended by his good friend and Premier Paper Group Marketing Director, David Jones, where he was once again reunited with Graham.

Following the acquisition of Premier, Phil has continued to work out of the Cheltenham and Bristol sales offices, developing a loyal customer base across the South Wales region.

I’ve got by on three bits of advice which has stood with me all my career,” said Phil. “Be yourself, never tell lies and always do your best.”

Phil concluded: “Paper merchanting has been very good to me, and I owe it a great deal. I always try to do whatever I can to get the job done and always with a sense of humour.”