Resthaven Malvern Housekeeping Services Assistant, Lesley Wimbles, this year celebrates an amazing 45 years of service with Resthaven – however, she only ever meant to be in the role for six weeks!
Still working three ‘tea shifts’ a week, Lesley, aged 78, says, ‘My neighbour, Margaret, was friends with the Resthaven Malvern Matron, Barbara.’
‘My eldest had started school that year, and Margaret said to me, “We’re really desperate at Resthaven, you wouldn’t like a job would you?”’
‘And I said, “Oh gee, I’ll have to ask mum if she can watch the kids – as long as it’s only six weeks”. Well, we all know it ended up being longer that that!’
‘Oh my goodness, I still remember my first day,’ Lesley continues; ‘It was Saturday 5 March, 1977, and I just walked in not knowing where to go, or knowing anyone.’
‘Luckily, someone sent me to the main kitchen, and they told me what to do.’
‘I used to work afternoon tea duty on Saturdays and Sundays – back then, the hot meal was already prepared, and it was a choice of two soups, then mains and salad, then sweets.’
‘I had to do the salad plates, and another girl would come at 4pm and set the tables.’
‘Back then, there were 84 residents all in one big dining room. I remember thinking, how am I going to remember 84 names? But I obviously did.’
Lesley has enjoyed several roles within the housekeeping department over the years, turning her hand to anything thrown her way: ‘When the sweets cook was sick, I used to go in and do the sweets in the main kitchen. That was awesome, a lot of fun,’ she says.
Lesley also enjoyed a few stints as Housekeeper during periods of leave, working split shifts with an hour’s break in between.
‘I would go and pick up my son from school at 3pm, and he’d sit in the staff room and do his homework until I finished at six,’ she says.
Lesley has fond memories of residents who have left an impression on her over the years; ‘I remember one lady, Molly,’ she says. ‘We used to talk about cooking and recipes, and she gave me a nutloaf recipe. This was years ago, but I made that nutloaf just the other day. It’s in my recipe book as “Molly’s nutloaf.” She was a beautiful lady.’
Lesley also remembers many a Christmas, when residents used to come back late from viewing the Lobethal lights on the Resthaven bus. ‘They used to go to the lights then come back for supper, which I would have ready for 10pm,’ Lesley says.
These memories and more are what has kept Lesley in her role for such a long period of time: ‘I think it gives you fulfillment that you’re helping someone, that’s probably the main thing for me. I feel like I’m doing something for the community.’
‘Unfortunately, with my body catching up with me, retirement is on the cards. I get sad when I think about retiring, but I know it has to come. By the end of this year I’m going to be 79!’
‘Resthaven is probably a second home to me now.’
Lesley is the longest-serving member of staff in Resthaven’s eighty six year history, and we sincerely thank her for her long and dedicated service to the Resthaven community.