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UK's longest serving nurse retires

Published on 13 November 2012 11:30 AM

The UK's longest serving nurse is preparing to retire after 56 years in the job and says she would not change a thing about her career.


Jean Colclough started the job as an 18-year-old back in 1956 for a salary of £260 per annum, before going on to be promoted to the role of night sister at Southend Hospital in November 1982, and she still walks hundreds of miles a year up and down hospital corridors.

And the 74-year-old - who says she is only retiring because her pension entitlement would suffer if she did not - has said that leaving is the hardest thing she has done and that she would gladly go on working even longer.

'My retirement letter was the hardest I have ever had to write. I was on my own and just sat there and grizzled. I would happily stay on,' she said.

'I don't think I could have done better than I have done. It's been lovely - every ward I worked on was the best place I had ever been.'

'Twice the energy of those half her age'

A hospital spokeswoman said other nurses had spent 50 years in the job but that 56 is considered a record. Her colleagues say she still has 'twice the energy of those half her age'.

Her hospital discharge co-ordinator says she will be fondly remembered.

'Jean will be so greatly missed, and I wish I could clone her - and bottle her energy,' said Sandra Steeples.

Jean wanted to be a doctor originally but her family could not afford the university fees. She has no regrets though and her longevity and service is all the more impressive as she had a lung removed in 1960 and was not expected to live past the age of 40.

Copyright Press Association 2012

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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