Oldest nurse set to retire aged 74

Southend Standard: Nurse Jean Colcough - NHS's oldest nurse Nurse Jean Colcough - NHS's oldest nurse

THE NHS’s oldest nurse is set to retire at the age of almost 75.

Jean Colclough has been working in Southend Hospital for the last 56 years, despite suffering from a rare lung condition which should have killed her before she was 40.

But now she has decided to leave the health service at the end of December because vagaries in the law mean her pension will be adversely affected if she stays.

Jean said: “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.

“Fifty-six years is a long time. Just stopping is not going to be easy.”

Jean, from Southend, began training as a nurse in September 1956 - the same year as the Suez crisis and Elvis’s hit Heartbreak Hotel.

She wore the traditional uniform of regulation butterfly cap, pale blue dress, white apron and black lace-ups.

However, not long after qualifying in 1960, Jean was diagnosed with the aggressive condition bronchiectasi and her consultant told her she would be a “respiratory cripple” by the age of 30.

Her prognosis was so bad that, even after most of her left lung was removed, she was not expected to live past the age of 40.

But she has proved everyone wrong with her unending stamina and still covers miles and miles of corridors every night as a clinical site coordinator.

Grandmother Jean, who originally wanted to train as a doctor, but could not afford the university fees, 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.”

Despite a well-earned rest beckoning, Jean has not ruled out returning to the hospital as an agency nurse.

She said: “I would certainly consider coming back on the bank. But first we have to move house.”

Friend and colleague Sandra Steeples, hospital discharge coordinator, added: “Jean will be so greatly missed, and I wish I could clone her - and bottle her energy!”

Comments (9)

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7:14am Tue 13 Nov 12

SpiffSpaffington1984 says...

You mean last english speaking nurse
You mean last english speaking nurse SpiffSpaffington1984

7:17am Tue 13 Nov 12

Shoebury_Cyclist says...

It is dedication like Jean's that shows what we have to lose when the tories have finished privatising the NHS and carving up the profits for themselves.

Today it has been revealed they plan to get rid of over 60,000 NHS staff.

Tories, they're nothing but venal scum.
It is dedication like Jean's that shows what we have to lose when the tories have finished privatising the NHS and carving up the profits for themselves. Today it has been revealed they plan to get rid of over 60,000 NHS staff. Tories, they're nothing but venal scum. Shoebury_Cyclist

8:09am Tue 13 Nov 12

fletch12107 says...

Had Jean retired at 60 then there would have been a vacancy for a new nurse. Whilst its appears good to stay in work until you drop it does nothing for the jobs market for young people. If everyone stays in their job forever then there is no need to pay into a pension fund and that will put more people out of work.
Had Jean retired at 60 then there would have been a vacancy for a new nurse. Whilst its appears good to stay in work until you drop it does nothing for the jobs market for young people. If everyone stays in their job forever then there is no need to pay into a pension fund and that will put more people out of work. fletch12107

8:12am Tue 13 Nov 12

rosered says...

Jean is one of the best nurses it has been my privilege to know, her care for patients and staff is outstanding. Nothing was ever too much trouble for her and was always accompanied by that lovely smile.
Southend Hospital is simply losing one of the best, a hard act to follow.
Enjoy retirement Jean
Jean is one of the best nurses it has been my privilege to know, her care for patients and staff is outstanding. Nothing was ever too much trouble for her and was always accompanied by that lovely smile. Southend Hospital is simply losing one of the best, a hard act to follow. Enjoy retirement Jean rosered

9:05am Tue 13 Nov 12

sosad 1 says...

can not believe racist and negative comments on this story you need help
can not believe racist and negative comments on this story you need help sosad 1

10:17am Tue 13 Nov 12

Brunning999 says...

Well done girl !

Ignore the trolls !
Well done girl ! Ignore the trolls ! Brunning999

10:18am Tue 13 Nov 12

Brunning999 says...

Shoebury_Cyclist wrote:
It is dedication like Jean's that shows what we have to lose when the tories have finished privatising the NHS and carving up the profits for themselves.

Today it has been revealed they plan to get rid of over 60,000 NHS staff.

Tories, they're nothing but venal scum.
Look in other doors.
[quote][p][bold]Shoebury_Cyclist[/bold] wrote: It is dedication like Jean's that shows what we have to lose when the tories have finished privatising the NHS and carving up the profits for themselves. Today it has been revealed they plan to get rid of over 60,000 NHS staff. Tories, they're nothing but venal scum.[/p][/quote]Look in other doors. Brunning999

2:46pm Tue 13 Nov 12

perini says...

fletch12107 wrote:
Had Jean retired at 60 then there would have been a vacancy for a new nurse. Whilst its appears good to stay in work until you drop it does nothing for the jobs market for young people. If everyone stays in their job forever then there is no need to pay into a pension fund and that will put more people out of work.
Only a Phillipino would have been offered the job! The hospital bosses would have to justify their junkets out there to someone!
[quote][p][bold]fletch12107[/bold] wrote: Had Jean retired at 60 then there would have been a vacancy for a new nurse. Whilst its appears good to stay in work until you drop it does nothing for the jobs market for young people. If everyone stays in their job forever then there is no need to pay into a pension fund and that will put more people out of work.[/p][/quote]Only a Phillipino would have been offered the job! The hospital bosses would have to justify their junkets out there to someone! perini

7:18am Wed 14 Nov 12

EssexBoy1956 says...

I hope I look as good as that when I'm 74. I want some of what she's on!
Well done Jean. I hope you have a long and happy retirement.
I hope I look as good as that when I'm 74. I want some of what she's on! Well done Jean. I hope you have a long and happy retirement. EssexBoy1956

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