We use cookies to give you the best experience. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our policy. Read more about how we use cookies and find out how you can change your browser's cookie settings.
Skip to content
Please donate

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

Share this page

Last updated: Dec 05 2018

Become part of our story

Sign up today

Back to top