The 56-year-career of Britain’s longest serving nurse has come to an end and she insists she does not regret a single day.
Seventy-four-year-old Jean Colclough started as a nurse in 1956 when she was just 18. Back then her annual salary was just £260 but she fell in love with nursing and 56 years later her enthusiasm for the job remains.
As she retired from her position at Southend Hospital she said she had struggled to write the letter which announced her plans to leave the role. She said she would be pleased to stay working as a nurse but had to retire now or there would be a negative impact on her pension.
But Jean has not ruled out doing shifts as a bank nurse in the future.
She said she would find it hard to not go to work any more but she was about to move house, which would keep her busy for a while.
Those who have worked with Jean say she is as energetic as her younger workmates. And her career is even more remarkable as doctors never expected her survive past her 40th birthday, after she had one of her lungs taken out in 1960.
When Jean was young she had ambitions to go to university and become a doctor but her family did not have the money needed to put her through medical school.
But she says she is pleased with the way things have turned out and has loved working in every ward she has been assigned to.
Jean became night sister at Southend in 1982 and has walked thousands of miles along the hospital’s corridors in the 30 years she has held the position.