A “role model” carer who has only had two weeks off in 50 years has no plans to retire – despite being 84.
Widowed Eileen Haysham has been a care and support worker since 1965 and travels door-to-door doing home visits on her trusty bicycle.
Eileen had not taken a single day off until last year but had to break her remarkable record for two weeks to have her cataracts removed.
Care bosses say Eileen is renowned for riding her bike in all weathers and is an “inspiration” to younger staff.
Kind-hearted Eileen, from Bridgwater, Somerset, was recently handed an outstanding achievement award in recognition of her tireless service.
She was one of a long list of staff who were honoured at an event held at Somerset Care’s Sedgemoor Community Services office on Bath Road last week.
Great grandmother Eileen works six days a week covering her patch and on average visits five clients a day.
Eileen, whose husband died 13 years ago, says she loves her job and the secret to a long career in caring is accepting people as “you’d accept yourself”.
She said: “It gets me out of the house, and I seem to be in good health, thank goodness, up to now, and I like meeting the people and keeping them in their homes as long as I can.
“I love all of it really. I mean I don’t mind what I do, cleaning or cooking or washing or anything. It doesn’t make any difference to me, I just get in and do it.
“Well I think you’ve got to come in to a person’s home, accept them as you’d be accepted yourself and give them all the care and attention that they need.
“The changes I’ve seen is that carers now do the washing, and giving eye drops, with permission from the office, and ear drops, with permission again. We never did that before.”
Client Mrs Harris said: “She’s lovely. She’s got her Irish charm, yeah. We get on well together. She’s a regular every day, I’d be lost without her.”
Dr Jane Townson, Chief Executive of Somerset Care said: “Eileen is fabulous. She really embodies the values that Somerset Care hold dear.
“She’s caring, dedicated, passionate about her work, and always puts the people she cares for, first.
“She’s a fantastic role-model and an inspiration to many of our younger staff.”