Ann says goodbye after 42 years’ dispensing in village

Ann Stewart is retiring after working as a dispenser in Widdrington Station for 42 years.
Ann Stewart is retiring after working as a dispenser in Widdrington Station for 42 years.

When she started her job as a dispenser in Widdrington Station in May 1972, Ann Stewart was based at Dr O’Driscoll’s house.

Today, she does her work in modern facilities at Widdrington Pharmacy.

Many things have changed, but what has stayed the same over the years is her friendly manner when residents in the village have asked for their medicine and tablets.

Now her career is coming to an end after she decided to retire – her final day at the Grange Road building is on Friday, July 4.

The pharmacy element has always been part of the GP surgery. It moved into what was then the Welfare Clinic in 1974 and the move to state-of-the-art premises took place in 2002.

The 62-year-old, who started out as a dispenser at the North Eastern Co-op in Amble before taking up the job at Widdrington Station, said: “Things were very different in the 70s.

“Many people didn’t make appointments, they would come and wait their turn. We would sort out the dosage by hand and quite a lot of the medicines were in large containers.

“It’s a much nicer and safer working environment where we are now, but I enjoyed working in all three places.

“There would sometimes just be one of us on duty at the house and clinic, but that soon changed as more staff came on board to deal with the greater demand for medicines.

“I feel it’s the right time to call it a day. My husband is retired now and I have young grandchildren, so it will be nice to see them more often.

“In saying that, I will miss my colleagues, the doctors and the patients an awful lot. The patients I have known for years, I class them as friends and I’ll aim to keep in touch with them.”

GP partner at the surgery, Dr Yvonne Lees, said that Ann will be a big miss as she has been an invaluable part of the team.

“People really appreciate someone behind the desk that knows who they are and Ann has been a reassuring presence to residents for many years,” she added.

“It has been very interesting to find out what it was like for her in the first few years of her career.”