South Tyneside Council workers clock up 40 years each

South Tyneside 40-year emploees with the Mayor and Mayoress
South Tyneside 40-year emploees with the Mayor and Mayoress

Council staff have been honoured for their long service at a special ceremony with the Mayor of South Tyneside.

The group of 11 employees are celebrating more than 40 years’ service at South Tyneside Council - from education officers and librarians to drivers and labourers.

They were presented with their awards during a reception with the Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Olive Punchion, and Mayoress, Mrs Mary French, at South Shields Town Hall.

The Mayor said: “It was a real honour to present our staff with awards and thank them for their dedication, commitment and hard work over the past 40 years. It is wonderful to see so many of them receiving these awards and to hear how their roles have changed during their time with the council.

“Forty years’ service is a tremendous achievement and something to be recognised and celebrated.”

Enid Fairbrother, from Jarrow, is among the council’s longest serving employees having started work with the authority in 1974 as a newly qualified teacher. During that time, Enid worked in six different local schools – as head teacher in two of them – before joining the school improvement team six years ago.

She is now a service manager.

She said: “It was a real surprise and lovely gesture to be acknowledged for long service. Forty plus years sound like a long time when said aloud but it really doesn’t feel that way.”

Community librarian Maureen Cairns, of South Shields, joined the authority in 1976 working at Hebburn Library. She has since gone on to work in East Boldon Library, Central Library and is currently based between Cleadon Park Library and The Word.

A main part of Maureen’s role is enabling people with mobility problems, including those in residential care and housing plus schemes, to get access to books through the Home Readers Library Service. She also works with library groups in clippy mat making, scrabble, ukulele, choir and dementia drop ins.

Maureen said: “I’ve always worked for the library service and thoroughly enjoy working with the public. In the last few years, I have taken on a community engagement role and enjoy every minute of it. I get to work with various groups in branches and over the years have become friends with many lovely people.”

HGV driver Lawrence Pettimore, also of South Shields, joined the council in 1976. He currently drives bin lorries in waste services.

He said: “It was a really nice surprise to be awarded for long service – it’s not something I was expecting at all.

“I’ve seen quite a few changes over the years like when Middlefields was built. Those years have certainly flown by.”

Kevin Mothersdale, Kathleen Dickson, Ann Broomfield, Gillian Bardwell, John Paul, Diane Thompson, Kenneth McDonald and Thomas Elderbrant also received awards from the Mayor.