Much-loved member of staff to retire just four days before 90th birthday

·4-min read
Pictures by Gordon Terris.
Pictures by Gordon Terris.

A MUCH-LOVED member of staff will work her last shift with Glasgow Life today - just four days before her 90th birthday.

Jean Kennedy joined the organisation 24 years ago as front-of-house staff working across several Glasgow venues after retiring as a full-time medical secretary.

Jean, who is from Glasgow’s East End, says she never thought about retiring from Glasgow Life before because "I’ve been fit and able to work and I enjoy it".

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Glasgow Times: Jean Kennedy
Glasgow Times: Jean Kennedy

Jean Kennedy

She said: "I feel okay [about retiring], I know it’s time because things are becoming a bit more difficult than they were, so I know it’s time for me to go.

"When I think I’m 90, I think 'you’ve got a cheek working up until you’re 90'.

"But it’s not really hard work, sometimes it’s tiring but it’s not hard work."

Glasgow Times: Jean Kennedy and co-workers
Glasgow Times: Jean Kennedy and co-workers

Jean Kennedy and co-workers

Jean says she’s also enjoyed the companionship of her co-workers.

She explained: "I think the people I work with [are what I’ll miss most].

"And the discipline of having to come out and work.

"If you don’t have any purpose, it’s difficult to motivate yourself but when you have to be here at a certain time you do it."

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Glasgow Times: Jean Kennedy and co-workers
Glasgow Times: Jean Kennedy and co-workers

Jean Kennedy and co-workers

The mother and grandmother has worked across several venues during her time with Glasgow Life including the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, City Halls, Tramway Theatre and the Mitchell Theatre and has been able to see a variety of musical acts.

"I enjoyed the concerts, I enjoyed the classical music because I wouldn’t have bought tickets to come and see as many as I have seen," Jean says.

"Evelyn Glennie, I thought she was amazing and Nicola Benedetti, she’s really good and she’s a very nice person.

"She comes over as being very friendly and ordinary although she’s an amazing violinist.

"Frank Sinatra has been, and I always was a great Frank Sinatra fan, he was good.

"I’ve listened to a lot of different music that I probably wouldn’t have listened to, so it’s been really good."

Glasgow Times: Jean Kennedy and co-workers
Glasgow Times: Jean Kennedy and co-workers

Jean Kennedy and co-workers

She added: "I’m working at the City Halls tonight for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra concert tonight so that’s quite a good way to leave because what I really love is orchestral music."

Jean has been working around three days a week and isn’t sure yet what she’ll do to fill her free time but says she’s always been active.

She said: "I cycled a lot, I did ballroom dancing three times a week, I played boules and I was in the hillwalking club.

"So, everything I’ve done has been active and I’m not as active as I was.

"I started doing Park Walks in Alexandra Park twice a week and Tai Chi, which I might not be continuing with, but again they’re things depending on being active.

"I read a lot, I do jigsaws, I do crosswords, but I need to do something else to occupy my mind."

She added: "I’ll come to the occasional concert.

"My two sons, they’re very musical as well so I can get them to come with me."

Glasgow Times: Jean Kennedy
Glasgow Times: Jean Kennedy

Jean Kennedy

Although Jean says she "didn’t want any fuss" she will celebrate her birthday, which is on Monday, September 26, and retirement next Friday with a party at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

As well as current and previous co-workers from Glasgow Life attending, her grandchildren will also travel up from London for the celebrations.

Jean’s co-workers, who say they are "devastated" about her retirement, said: "The staff will miss Jean as much as she’ll miss us.

"Still at 90 years she goes up and down stairs, does fire exits and never complains.

"She will be missed for herself, as a colleague and a friend.

"She’s amazing for her age, you wouldn’t think she was almost 90 to look at her, she’s a breath of fresh air.

"She’s such a nice person, she’s lovely, and nobody’s got a bad word to say about Jean.

"She’ll be greatly missed by everybody.

"She’s got such a nice manner and she’s got a great manner with the customers as well.

"And she’s fit and active at 90, she puts a lot of us to shame."