Hunters, the York-based estate agent, is the only estate agent in the UK to be given the status of Employer Champions by Age Positive, an organisation promoting age diversity in the workplace.

One hundred businesses, institutions and individuals, including Glynis Frew, human resources manager at Hunters, visited the Education Minister Malcolm Wicks at 11 Downing Street for a reception to celebrate their commitment to tackling age discrimination at work.

Hunters' employees span a wide age range, with Laura Procter, age 17 being the youngest, and 74-year-old Cicely Wilson being the eldest.

Cicely, who now works part-time at Hunters, has worked in estate agency for 16 years and finds that being the eldest in the office has its advantages.

"Obviously, the fact that I'm older means that I have more employment and life experience, which I think makes a big difference to the way I work and organise myself.

"I also find it easy to relate to staff and clients of all ages. I have grandchildren of my own so I can get on with younger people, but I can also relate to older people in the same way."

Glynis said; "It is fantastic to have been awarded such a title, and it was great to celebrate such an honour at Downing Street.

"Age diversity in the work place is really positive, and makes our work-force more dynamic. It is important that other employers realise the benefits and address it within their recruitment policy."

Age Positive, a team working in the Department for Work and Pensions in Sheffield, aims to increase the retention of people over 50 in work, encouraging employers to use age-diverse practices, analysing the position of older workers in the employment market, and sharing good practice internationally.

Tykes take shortest

lunches in the UK

Yorkshire workers take the shortest lunch breaks in the land - just 25 minutes on average - and are most likely to work through with nearly one in four (24 per cent) never taking a break,

The Eurest Lunchtime Report 2004, a nationwide survey of 2,000 adults, reveals today that this compares with the average lunch break for British workers of just 27 minutes - an all-time low.

Workers in Yorkshire also spend less than the national average on lunch - £1.83 compared with £2.02.

Tea still tops the nation's lunchtime drinks table, but - curiously - appears to be losing popularity in Yorkshire where it is now drunk by only 38 per cent (against 49 per cent two years ago).

In fact, more Yorkshire workers (40 per cent) wash down their lunch with coffee - in all its forms - than tea.

The staff restaurant is the nation's most popular lunch spot where available and in that respect Yorkshire workers are not as lucky as the rest of the nation.

One-in-two (51 per cent) Yorkshire workers do not have a staff restaurant, cafeteria or canteen which compares with 54 per cent nationally.

Of those UK workers who do have such facilities, more than a third (34 per cent) dine there four or five times a week.

Updated: 09:56 Friday, July 16, 2004