Jean ready to take it easy

After being forced to give up work as a nursery nurse Jean was not going to sit back and do nothing AFTER nearly two decades as a day centre volunteer, 73-year-old Jean Bradford is finally taking a break. Mrs Bradford retired last week from Knebworth Day

After being forced to give up work as a nursery nurse Jean was not going to sit back and do nothing

AFTER nearly two decades as a day centre volunteer, 73-year-old Jean Bradford is finally taking a break.

Mrs Bradford retired last week from Knebworth Day Centre, based at Deanscroft sheltered accommodation on Lytton Fields.

She had worked at the centre, which meets every Monday and has been running for 19 years, for 17 years. She has held the position of coordinator for 14-and-a-half years.


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Mrs Bradford had previously worked as a nursery nurse at Roebuck Primary School and Nursery in Stevenage, but had to leave because of a bad back.

The mother-of-three said: "I had just left the nursery school and I thought 'I can't be doing nothing.'

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"I saw an advert in the post office for volunteers and I just thought there was a need. I thought it would be nice to help the elderly to get out from their homes for a day and to help entertain them.

"The day centre is for those who are virtually housebound and drivers pick them up.

"We play carpet bowls, cards and other things, just to give them a day away from home.

"They have their meals at the day centre, and coffee and afternoon tea.

"They also go on outings, such as to the garden centres, but they are getting older so it's hard work for them now. A lot of them have been there as long as I have!

"We have about 18 people on the books and there are 12 volunteers, and we just work as a team.

"I didn't have to cook any meals for them because we have a cook to do that but we did all join in with the games and make fools of ourselves. It's very friendly and very informal."

The elderly who attend the day centre only pay for their meals - the activities are free.

When asked what she liked most about volunteering, Mrs Bradford said: "I loved seeing their faces when they came in, and when they said thank you for a lovely day.

"I just enjoyed having all the people there and giving them a nice day. I do see them outside of the day centre sometimes and it's nice to have a chat.

"They are all lovely people and it's like a big family. There was nothing I didn't like about it."

Mrs Bradford, whose home is in New Close in Knebworth, has lived in the village for 37 years. "It's such a lovely place to live," she said.

"Everyone is so friendly."

Asked why she had decided to leave the day centre, Mrs Bradford said: "I want to be able to go away without having to get back for Monday. Now I can go away and come back later in the week instead.

"We only had bank holidays off from the centre and, apart from those, I have worked every single Monday since I started, unless I was ill."

Mrs Bradford's tremendous contribution to the day centre was marked with a presentation of flowers from the other volunteers on her last day working at the centre, January 14.

She said: "I didn't want any fuss but they didn't listen. It was a really lovely gesture and I was really pleased."

She added: "I shall be back visiting. I can have a cup of tea and not think 'what should I be doing?'"

The centre is looking for someone to fill the gap Mrs Bradford has left as coordinator of an experienced team of volunteers.

If you think you might be able to take up the challenge, call Mary Coyne at Age Concern on 01727 834321.

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