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‘Dedicated and loyal’ care home team clock up 238 years’ service


When Barry Freeman and Bridget Muttock started work at The Depperhaugh, the romance of Prince Charles and Lady Diana was making headlines and the Falklands War was in the future. They are the longest-serving employees at the care home on the Suffolk/Norfolk border, with 35 and 34 years’ service respectively but they are not alone in considering themselves part of the furniture. In an age when people tend to move from job to job quickly, 10 members of staff at the Kingsley Healthcare- run home near Hoxne have clocked up combined service of 238 years.

Is it the stately surroundings of a house built for a 19th century admiral that have such a magnetic draw? Or could it be the serene country setting that keeps staff rooted like the mature trees in the grounds. Mrs Muttock, 78, who progressed from being a carer to senior carer before taking on the role of a cleaner at an age when most people would be putting their feet up and retiring, has no doubt what keeps everyone coming back. She said: “We are all such a happy bunch. I can’t keep away and call it my second home. I love looking after the old people. “However, there have been some big changes over the years. When I started we had lords and ladies staying here, each resident had a bell to ring and there was silver service at dinner time.”

Mr Freeman, 52, the gardener and groundsman, said: “I love the countryside. Coming to work here you see all sorts of wildlife from deer to squirrels.” Kitchen assistant Tilly Sharman, 51, has clocked up 22 years’ service in two spells. “I left for two years to run a pub,” she said. “The Depperhaugh has become my second home.” Kerry Chenery, 35, a carer with 17 years’ service, said: “We have grown together like a family. We have all been here so long.” The other long-serving staff are Sandra Moss, 23 years’ service; Nicky Davies, 17 years; Karen Nunn, 25 years; Angela Bailey, 21 years; Christine Dinnage, 27 years; and Shane Leeder, 17 years. Manager Alison Fallowfield said: “It is great to have such a dedicated and loyal team. “Our home really feels like part of the community.”

Find more about The Depperhaugh: Click here  

Author: Stephen Pullinger    

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