End of an era as 'face of Beccles sports centre' retires after 35 years
PUBLISHED: 11:08 22 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:28 22 March 2019
A grandmother has called time on a career in which she dedicated more than 35 years to her local sports centre.
Christine Barratt, who lives in Geldeston, last night worked her very last shift as business support officer at The Venue - also known as Beccles Sports Centre.
Having spent more than three-and-a-half decades at the facility, run by Sir John Leman High School, Mrs Barratt says she never expected to see out her working career in the job.
“A friend worked there and told me there was a job available so I thought I’d give it a go,” said Mrs Barratt. “I was 30-years-old and only thought I’d be working there for a few years while my children were young.
“I’ve loved everything about it, really. There have been lots of changes and a lot of different faces over the years, but I’ve made so many friends.”
As she gets the send off from colleagues that she deserves, Mrs Barratt is excited to have the freedom to spend more time with family.
Speaking ahead of her final shift, she added: “I’m really looking forward to retiring, but my last shift tonight is going to be very sad. I imagine I’m going to miss the job a lot.
“I’ll be looking after my little granddaughter, Olivia, and spending a lot of time gardening and walking - all the things retired people tend to enjoy doing.”
Mrs Barratt’s daughter, Louisa Bassham, said she was proud of her mother for dedicating so much of her life to the sports centre and the local community.
“What has never changed is that she goes above and beyond for everybody around her,” said Mrs Bassham. “She has always been full of ideas, making sure everything runs smoothly.
“I think it’s the customers that she’s going to miss the most. Some of them she has known for years and they have become her friends as well.”
Paul Bassham, Mrs Barratt’s son-in-law, added: “Christine contemplated retiring last year but the main thing that spurred her on to do it now was spending more time with her granddaughter.
“She has worked under a few different managers, but she has been that one constant amid years of change. To so many people she is the face of the sports centre.”