AM to PM in lockdown with Debbie Williams

By Anita Jaynes on 29 April, 2020

During COVID lockdown we’re reviving our AM to PM feature which delves into the lives and day-to-day diaries of members of our local business community. It’s great to be nosy and find out how others are coping, structuring their days and getting through these tricky times. 

In this post we put the spotlight on Debbie Williams, Co-Director of Chippenham’s John Williams Heating Services.

The company has served North Wiltshire and Bath for over 16 years. Debbie and her husband John are very involved in the local community. Debbie recently stepped down as President of Chippenham Chamber of Commerce after five years.

5.30am – I’m an early riser no alarm needed! I get up and run 5k, it sets me up for the day. At home I have cup of green tea. 

7.30am – Breakfast and preparing for the day while in lockdown. This may mean checking messages which have come in overnight, responding to them and perhaps checking or posting on our social media platforms. 

8.30am – Making any telephone calls that are required and talking to the small emergency team we have working at the moment about the day’s plans (we can only do emergency work at the moment). 

9.30am – Check in with members of our furloughed team (19 in all) we check in regularly to make sure they are all well. Prepare for our new ‘opening hours’ from 10am to 3pm. 

10.30am – Dealing with calls from people, planning future work which we cannot do at the moment. Ensure the small team are able to get where they need to be to help customers with emergencies – ensure we can source necessary products. 

11.30am – More of the same. Our customers are amazing, a lot have been with us since the beginning (16 years) and they have been so understanding that we cannot come out for non-emergency work. 

12.30pm – When the weather is lovely I have been eating lunch in my garden, usually a salad, admiring my beautiful tulips.

1.30pm – The worst part of our job has always been when we are too busy to take on new customers, during winter. We hate letting people down. The same is true now however we have to obey the law and not attend non-urgent work for the safety of all. 

2.30pm – 4.30pm – Great customer service will, we hope, see us through this crisis. We’ve used the tool of Zoom for team meetings and also urgent quotations with customers, or simply to chat about future plans and designs for bathrooms, kitchens or non-urgent boilers. 

5.30pm – We plan for the next day and check in with tomorrow’s customers that they are symptom free and  we also go over our plans and demonstrate how our staff will socially distance and will be wearing PPE. 

6.30pm – I attend two exercise classes, now virtually, and I am maintaining that exercise as it keeps me ground. 

7.30pm – I have rediscovered my love of baking so I may get creative in the kitchen if we have ingredients. 

8.30pm – Bed time – we try to relax though that’s not always easy at the moment. We also use this time to check in with our two daughters and granddaughters. It’s tough not being able to see them. 

To find out more about John Williams Heating Services visit:

Pictured above: Debbie and John with their dogs Dave and Frank.