Cheshire Home carer retiring after 35 years

A SENIOR carer who has worked at the Cheshire Home since it opened is to retire after 35 years.

Ollie Whittaker is retiring from the Guernsey Cheshire Home after 35 years of service. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31499093)
Ollie Whittaker is retiring from the Guernsey Cheshire Home after 35 years of service. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 31499093)

Ollie Whittaker came to the island from Huddersfield in 1976 when she took up a job working at the Mermaid Tavern in Herm for several seasons before working at Idlerocks Hotel and then Creasey’s coffee shop.

It was while she was at Creasey’s that she spotted an advert for a carer’s role at the new Cheshire Home and got the job.

‘I started off doing nights and after about a year I came on to days,’ she said.

‘It was very different then. There’s been lots added to the building since.

‘And there were only two residents when I started.’

There were also fewer staff, with Miss Whittaker on nights and four working during the day. Now there are 35 staff in total, including chefs, cleaners and others.

It was a lot busier, she said, but that was better.

During her time she said she had most enjoyed doing things to help the residents, such as assisting one who used his mouth to operate a computer, to keep in touch with a relative in America via Skype.

She also helped to make floats for the Battle of Flowers on a few occasions and ran six half-marathons to raise funds for the home.

Miss Whittaker said she would be looking to join local clubs now she had more time, including the University of the Third Age. ‘I was going to start sea swimming but I think I’ll wait until the summer.’

Her retirement coincides with her 70th birthday and she will be joining friends and work colleagues for a celebratory lunch and an evening gathering at the Lions’ Den above the Golden Lion.

‘Then there’ll be an afternoon tea just for the Cheshire Home,’ she said.

A trip to see family in Huddersfield is also on the cards.

Guernsey Cheshire Home chairman Rob Shepherd paid tribute to Miss Whittaker’s long service. ‘She has been a mainstay of the home during her time here,’ he said.

‘We’re all going to miss her very badly.’

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