Most people in their 70s have said goodbye to their working years, are enjoying retirement and might even set off travelling to different parts of the country when possible.
But retirement couldn’t be further from Ann Duffy’s sights, with the New Image Laundry worker recently celebrating her 78th birthday with her colleagues.
Despite making numerous offers to resign, Ann continues to turn up for work each day.
“I just love ironing,” Ann laughed.
Ann began working at the laundry 16 years ago when it was called Peg and Iron, located at Bundaberg East, and remained on-staff when IMPACT took the business over in 2013.
“When IMPACT first bought the laundry, I offered to resign, but they wouldn’t let me,” she joked.
“Then when they moved to this big building (at 4 Inglis Court) I offered to resign again, but they look after me so well.”
After many years of work, Ann said the key to staying with the laundry was her relationship with the staff.
“I class the staff here as family,” she said.
Before the laundry became the busy commercial operation it is today, Ann used to pride herself on being the laundry counsellor and would take the time to talk through any issues the younger workers had.
“When you get to my age, you’ve been through it all,” she said.
“Now we’re too busy for that, and IMPACT offers its own counsellors for staff... but they all know I’m here as a listening ear if they need.”
Ann has worked her way through each role of the laundering process, from doing the washing and folding towels and pillow slips to using the big machines, but has given up the heavy work for a more modest job of ironing garments.
To celebrate her birthday the whole laundry came to a standstill and celebrated with a morning tea.
“I’m so blessed really, and I say that a lot, because there are people at my age and even younger who aren’t working,” she said.
Ann said New Image Laundry was a great place for people with a health concern to gain employment because IMPACT understood that different people have different abilities.
“If they come here, they’re not going to get pushed to do the top work,” she said.
“If they can come and do the best they can, that’s what IMPACT seems to accept.”
And it’s not just the laundry Ann is involved in.
“If you want to be sociable with IMPACT, I’m even in their ability choir,” she said.
“We do look after disability people here… and everyone is accepted.
“IMPACT does a lot for the community, and not just in the disability space but in supporting the whole community in so many ways.”
To find out more about the many services offered at IMPACT, visit www.impact.org.au.