It’s no big deal! Oh yes it is!

Retirement Road Sign with blue sky and clouds.

In this world driven by the search for celebrity, fame and money sometimes we overlook people who have had a huge impact on the lives of other people, because they quietly get on being brilliant at what they do without any fanfare or big gesture!

I have been fortunate to work with one such individual on and off for about twenty years and this week I have learned of his retirement. Without doubt he is a person who will be missed, not only by his colleagues but more importantly by the young people who he has taught over the years.

In a town like Oldham news travels very fast, we have a grapevine that is very impressive and this news traveled faster than most.

Now I have not named this individual because he would be mortified by the fact that in his eyes I had actually wasted valuable time writing this but more importantly he probably doesn’t think that his retirement doesn’t warrant any attention because its no big deal. To everyone who has worked or been taught by this person it is!

Normally it is not in most young peoples makeup to have a genuine affection for Lecturers however I have been bombarded by phone calls, Facebook messages and all the other manner of social networking paraphernalia asking me if i was true and what are we going to celebrate the end of an era (their words not mine).

It is obvious to anyone who has worked with him he has rare qualities that make him special. He is virtually unflappable and in all the time I have known him he has never had a bad word to say about anyone. His greatest quality is that he has the ability to see the best in people and make them feel like someone actually cares about what they achieve.

By my calculations (and I am not very good mathematically, other than invoicing and filling in expenses forms) In the time I have known him he has personally been responsible for the pastoral and educational needs of over 150 students a year, for the past twenty years.

By my reckoning that’s about 3000 individuals who have directly benefited from this mans experience and most of these individuals have gone on to become very successful in their chosen careers.

No matter were you travel to work in this country, when you tell them were you are from, nine times out of ten this mans name will crop up in the conversation, followed by the phrase “a great bloke”

So I hope we can pin him down and give him the send off he deserves and give some of the people he has helped over the years a chance to say thank you.

Hooray a time to celebrate

Norfolk Broads

Hooray a time to celebrate, (no not the Birth of Prince George). Its the fact I have made it to my annual summer holiday in one piece and with no bits having fallen of since the last one, apart from one tooth that broke earlier in the year but Im not counting that because its one I didn’t use that often.

Now Summer holidays at Eccles towers is a bit of a hit and miss affair due to Ann’s continuing health issues, having cancelled at least two holidays in the past five years getting insurance is a challenge.

So we now tend to go when she is well and only travel to mainland Europe, so fingers crossed we may actually get going this year. With that in mind we have organised a few days in Norfolk next week with friends.

Now I know that going away with friends can be a risky business in the fact that you may not return quite as close, but we have done this before and we have a great time. Now I know Norfolk has a reputation for being a bit dull, but I love it, I think its all to do with the big skies and the light which seems a little brighter than here in Saddleworth. But then again apart from the last three weeks I can’t remember seeing that much blue sky for so long.

So why am I celebrating arriving at this event with such enthusiasm. Its quite simple really, it’s been a tough year, people who I have worked with for years have decided that retirement has become a reality and other people have left to pursue careers in other sectors.

Now I am old enough to remember going through these types of changes in my working life several times over the years and it can be very waring on the nerves, even if its only the fact that some very nice and highly experienced people leave your circle of support.

To all these people I wish them all the best for the future and that they have a long and happy retirement.

That is all but one of my friends who we happen to be going away with. On his first day of retirement he stood on his balcony in his dressing gown and a cup of coffee in hand waving to all us working types as we left for work. If I could have driven across the garden to were he was I would have run him over.

This is the man who texted me the memorable message “Sat here overlooking the hills around Sienna watching the swifts darting in and out of the Olive groves drinking very nice Italian Wine.” whilst I was on the shoot from hell which did little to lift my mood.

He was quite taken back when I texted back “F**k off!”.

These friends however are brilliant company, They are funny, smart and have a sense of adventure that would leave a thirty something couple gasping for breath. So with that in mind I think I deserve a rest so I can do it all again next year.

I hope you all get a great summer break, even if its only to prepare you for Christmas!