• Durham OnAir

‘I love the job and have no plans yet to retire’ says 72-year-old care home worker


Kathleen Ashurst has worked at Croft House in Shotton Colliery, County Durham for 21 years, and at the age of 72 is one of four members of staff happily working at the care home beyond retirement.

Born and raised in the area, Kathleen has worked in a number of roles during her time at the family-run care home, including deputy manager, cook, senior carer and now as a laundry assistant.

Kathleen said: “I love the job and have no plans yet to retire. Spending time with the lovely residents and chatting with them daily when I return their clothes is such a great part of my job.”

Croft House prides itself on creating a homely atmosphere for residents and staff, which has helped them to retain long-standing staff members and enables them to continue to provide a high level of care.



Karen Clarke, care home manager, explained: “Our long-standing staff understand the fundamentals of good quality care, they have care and compassion for the residents and are able to guide and mentor younger staff who are starting out in their careers.”

Senior care assistant Margaret Tindle, aged 66, had no formal care experience when she joined the care team as a carer 16-years-ago.

Margaret cared for her mother and daughter before they sadly passed away.

“Karen is a great manager and makes sure everything runs smoothly,” said Margaret.

"Because of my experience of caring for my own loved ones before they passed, I feel that I have a lot to offer, especially when working on end-of-life care.”

Former orthopaedic and maternity nurse, Janice Cockfield, was the care home manager at the home before it was bought by Croft Care Group, and is now care coordinator.

The 68-year-old loves caring for the elderly and this inspired her to move into residential care.



She said: “I very much enjoy my job but hands-on care is too much for me now, so I support the home with care planning and paperwork two days a week.

“I love to help out and it’s wonderful to be a part of the team.”

Dorothy Scott, aged 72, began her career in care at the home following a chat with her friend who loved working in the industry.

Dorothy said: “I love caring for the residents and working with my colleagues. I stay because I respect Karen and think she’s a good boss, very supportive and shows good leadership.”

Karen added: “These fantastic women, alongside the wider team enable us to create the homely and community feel of the home which is so important to what we do.

“They are local people caring for their community and we are immensely proud and grateful to them all.”