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