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Supervisor Mary McCormick to make clean break after working at hospital for almost half-century

By Chris McCullough

Published 27/07/2015

Mary McCormick at work at the hospital
Mary McCormick at work at the hospital
Mary McCormick being congratulated by her fellow staff members
Mary McCormick at work at the hospital

It's been a real labour of love for the past 48 years but the time has come for Mary McCormick to hang up the apron and park the mop for the last time.

For almost half a century the Ballycastle woman has been at the forefront of the domestic cleaning of Dalriada Hospital and the Rathmoyle Day Centre in the Co Antrim town.

The 68-year-old currently works as a domestic supervisor in charge of 30 other cleaning staff but this Friday is officially her final day in the post that she has enjoyed all this time.

Mary said: "It's time to take life a little bit easier now. I have three sons and three grandchildren and I'd like to spend a bit more time with them.

"I might get more time to spend in the garden too after I finish and go for walks around the place.

"I enjoyed every moment of my job which I started at the age of 20. I remember my first day very well indeed.

"In those days it was normal to walk up to a boss and ask for a job and that's exactly what I did.

"I went into the hospital and asked the matron for a job which she gave me.

"When I started I wasn't married and was earning just £5 a week which went as far then as its equivalent amount does nowadays.

"I got married in 1974, the same time as the new hospital was built."

Mary's husband Johnny cleans their own house to save her the job. "Now that I am retiring he says he is retiring from our cleaning," quipped Mary.

Mary has noticed a lot of changes in the hospital and how even her cleaning job changed. She said: "When I started we were down on our knees cleaning the floor but this all changed in the '80s when we started using some equipment for the first time.

"As the years went on I became the supervisor looking after 30 other staff."

However, not everything changed for the better over the years in the cleaning world as Mary explained.

"There were too many regulations introduced over the years," she said. "Health and safety went beyond the joke sometimes but we had to adhere to all the rules and more.

"But I had a great time. I met so many characters over the years and worked with so many nice people."

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