Grieving Yorkshire widower returns to the world of work - aged 85

Trevor Bottomley has returned to the world of work aged eighty-five as a sales consultant at former employer EYG (Photo: EYG / SWNS)
Trevor Bottomley has returned to the world of work aged eighty-five as a sales consultant at former employer EYG (Photo: EYG / SWNS)

Trevor Bottomley "hated" living alone after his spouse of 64 years, Maureen, passed away in April, but he said his job as a sales consultant had given him a "new life".

Trevor spent more than five decades working in the window industry and had then gone back to his old company, commercial specialists EYG, in a part-time role after retiring. He only left that position in 2017 when Maureen had a stroke so he could look after her until her death earlier this year.

Trevor, who is also a professional piano player, tried to kickstart his social life while in mourning but struggled to get out of bed before 11am without a daily structure. However, after a chance meeting with his old colleagues, the great-granfather-of-five snapped up an offer to go back to full-time work - and hasn't looked back.

Trevor Bottomley and wife Maureen (Photo: Trevor Bottomley / SWNS)
Trevor Bottomley and wife Maureen (Photo: Trevor Bottomley / SWNS)

Trevor, from Hull, said: "When Maureen went, the house was so empty. I hated it, basically. I kept myself busy, and I got myself out as much as I could. But when I walked into EYG, and they offered me the job, I snapped their hands off for it. I thought: 'That gets me out every day. That gives me purpose. That gets me up in the morning, instead of staying in bed until 11am,' which I was doing.

"It was a new life for me, and If I can stay here another five years, I shall be extremely happy. I want to keep working as long as I can."

Trevor encouraged more pensioners to consider going back to work but felt widespread 'ageism' among hiring managers had made this difficult.

He added: "I think more should. If you've been in a particular industry, you've got all the skills that you need. But I think it's a shame that unfortunately ageism does come in and companies are just loathed to give people my age jobs."

Trevor left school at 15 and completed his national service before gaining city and guild qualifications in electrics and plumbing. During this time, he played piano in the local pubs and clubs for entertainment luminaries including Bob Monkhouse, David Whitfield and Norman Collier.

He first set eyes on Maureen when he was asked to repair a refrigerator at her mum's salon before they later got chatting when she came to see him perform.

Trevor said: "I had to go to her mother's hairdressing salon where she worked and repair the refrigerator. And I saw this beautiful young lady, and I thought ‘wow’. Her mother came into the club where I was playing a week later, and I said, 'Does your daughter come in with you' and she said 'No, she doesn't'.

"But a couple of weeks later, in walks Maureen, and the rest is history - we were both 20 when we met each other.

"She was an absolute stunner - a real beauty. I know every husband says that about his wife, but she really was. She had a lovely outlook on life. She was super. I miss her terribly."

Trevor went on to jointly found a company fitting TV aerials across Yorkshire, which grew to be one of Britain's largest between 1962 and 1970 He then moved into the window manufacture and sales industry in 1971 before finally retiring from EYG in 2009, which is headquartered in Hull.

Two years later, Maureen spotted an advert for a weekend job with his old firm, and Trevor returned to work for them for a further seven years. He was only forced to give up his part-time role when Maureen suffered a stroke and he became her carer until her death at the age of 85.

A few months later, he decided to stop by the company's factory in Hessle to speak to some of his former colleagues. And he was stunned when one of the managers then offered him a new full-time position working 10am to 5pm - five days a week.

He said: "I thought, 'I'll just pop in and see the lads and see how they are,' and the sales manager offered me a job "I discussed it with my two daughters, and they said 'Go for it.' So I took the job and here I am at 85 years old. I start on Friday, working five days a week. It's my choice to work five days, I feel totally able to do the job. I have kept up-to-date with technology and have no trouble working my laptop, email, and social media."

Multi-skilled Trevor has also helped establish a Facebook group with 72,000 members called Piano Music Theory, which educates players around the world. Sespite finding multiple ways to occupy his time, he said certain songs still triggered his sense of loss for his deeply missed wife Maureen.

He said: "I was coming home from this club one night, and I left at about 11.30pm. It's about three-quarters of an hour from where I live. I was listening to classic FM and on came 'Danny Boy', and it hit me. It's the same with Rachmaninoff's piano concerto no. 2. When you've lived with someone that you love, they become part of you, and it's unbelievable that they are not there anymore."