Wigan nurse retires after 53 years of NHS service

Jean Heyes has retired after working at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust for 53 years. She is pictured with trust chairman Robert Armstrong and chief executive Andrew Foster
Jean Heyes has retired after working at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust for 53 years. She is pictured with trust chairman Robert Armstrong and chief executive Andrew Foster

A much-loved NHS stalwart has stepped down after devoting more than 50 years to patients in the borough.


When Jean Heyes started working as an NHS nurse in Wigan in 1965, Ken Dodd was in the charts, The Beatles received their OBEs and Harold Wilson was residing at Number 10.

Life has changed dramatically in the past half-century and she has now stepped down from her role as staff side chair at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL).

Jean, from Wigan, started working in the NHS as part of the nursing staff across Wigan’s hospitals.

She progressed through the ranks and completed her nursing degree, working with the elderly at Whelley Hospital before taking up the position as staff side chair.

Now, the great-grandmother is taking time for herself and her family after taking care of the trust’s staff and patients during her 53 years in the job.

Andrew Foster, the trust’s chief executive, said: “The Earth shifted a little on its axis with Jean’s retirement after 53 years of devotion to patients, staff, partnership and WWL.

“Jean is a much-loved and respected member of the WWL family and will be sorely missed around our sites.”

Alison Balson, director of workforce, said: “Working with Jean is a unique experience and I’m proud to have worked alongside her.

“Jean has been a source of huge support to both me and the wider workforce.

“After giving more than 50 years of dedicated service to the trust it’s time for Jean to enjoy her retirement – no doubt there will be plenty more holidays to come and certainly more breaks to her lodge in the Lake District.”

A retirement party was held at the trust’s headquarters, which was attended by current and former colleagues wishing her well.

Jean said: “Everybody in this room, I can tell you tales about and laugh with, and it means so much to me to see so many of you here today, thank you very much and I’ll miss every one of you.”