A “well-loved” member of staff is retiring after 17 years with her Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust colleagues she calls “family” – making it a double celebration.
Carol Hamer, a Clerical Administrator for the Intermediate Care Service based at Walsall Manor Hospital, signs off on her impressive career on Friday – the day before her 66th birthday.
As part of a 30-strong team including facilitators, general nurses, social care staff and mental health nurses which looks after the discharge of complex patients, Carol is ‘front of house’, handling many calls from colleagues and relatives of some of the 30-plus patients referred to the service each day.
Carol, from Bentley, who started work for Walsall Healthcare on November 27, 2005, said: “I’ve got too many happy memories to single one out. We have had some fun – this is my family, so it’s going to be a sad day when I go.
“I remember working in the old St John’s building on the corner where the car park is now and we had a social worker on every ward – it was brilliant.”
Carol’s colleagues have become like a family after she lost her husband of 30 years George, a lorry driver, at 66 to a heart attack 10 years ago as she hasn’t anyone else close. So it’s no surprise she plans staying in touch with her colleagues.
And such is her popularity that colleagues from other departments and other locations are attending her retirement party.
“They joke they will need a bleep machine because they wind me up and I end up swearing,” laughed Carol, who first started work at 15 in a Walsall town centre shop two days after leaving school.
“I plan to come back and work temporary shifts when needed and I’ll keep coming back to say hello.”
She went on to work in a shop selling chickens – “anything you could do with a chicken, we’d do it and sell it” said Carol – earning £10 and five shillings a week.
Carol went on to become an invoice clerk in a foundry, prior to switching to Walsall Council, from where she joined the Trust via an agency.
Known for her hard work and reliability, Carol, who’s always worked full-time, added: “I’ve always said I’ll never let any manager down, and I haven’t.”
Helen Devine, General Intermediate Care Services Operations Manager, said: “Carol is a well-loved member of staff. She’s very generous, kind and always goes above and beyond – often coming into work early, even on her last day Carol is demonstrating her kindness by arranging a buffet for her colleagues.
“Carol is very supportive of patient flow in the Trust, working closely with colleagues of all levels.
“She’s very much front of house, taking calls from the public as well as colleagues. She’s part of the furniture here and she’ll be much missed.
“Carol’s always on the go and would do anything for anyone. She’s a genuine person and I’ll miss her chattering and little quirks and she will always be welcomed back for a cup of tea.”
So why is she going now? “I’ve watched lots of people come and go and I just think it’s my turn now,” Carol reflected. “It’s time to let someone else have a go. I also think I need to concentrate on my health because I’m diabetic.”
Carol has already planned what she is going to do with her increased spare time. “I’m a bit OCD when it comes to housework – I’ve always got a duster at the side of me,” she said.
“I also like decorating – I’ve already stripped the living room walls and I must decorate three or four times a year. As soon as I get fed up with one wall, I soon get the pasting table out – wallpapering is easily done.
“I like travelling too and I like to go to Spain – it’s only a couple of hours away.”