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BH - iris retirement

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: December 25, 2013

By Belinda hargreaves

Iris Brough, fourth from left, with Bank House staff, volunteers and clients.

Iris Brough, fourth from left, with Bank House staff, volunteers and clients.

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A DAY care centre manager who helped to set up the facility 34 years ago has retired.

Iris Brough was instrumental in launching Bank House Day Care Centre for the Elderly on St Edward Street, Leek.

Trustee of Bank House, Maureen Wiskin paid tribute to Iris at a retirement party at the venue.

Maureen said: "Lots of us have good ideas from time to time, but fewer act on their vision to ensure things actually happen, and fewer still stick around through thick and thin for 34 years to keep their vision going and make sure it thrives in the longer term."

In 1978 a group of councillors saw the need for a voluntary services centre and acquired Bank House by persuading the council to add a penny to the rates for a year to buy the building.

The late Joan Levitt helped establish the Community and Voluntary Services which is also housed in the building, while Eileen Murfin focused on providing a facility to alleviate the increasing social isolation of older people in the area.

Vera Ivers helped set up the Citizens' Advice Bureau, which still remains on the same floor of the day centre.

Maureen added: "There was no money to explore the matter further and Iris agreed to write to as many people as possible to enlist help to get the initiative off the ground. Vera couldn't tap into monies given for the CAB but got out her purse and said 'here's a pound for stamps, see what you can do with that'. Today the centre has become a landmark social enterprise in the community thanks to people like Iris and others who pursued their goal with tenacity.

"Over the years Iris and Hazel, who joined Iris as a co-manager later, have both been instrumental in spotting the need for improvements.

"They persuaded trustees to install the assisted bath hairdressing facilities, a new lounge and an extra minibus, all of which are so very well used. For many of these improvements Iris helped raise the funds to keep the centre going. But it is not just the many things that Iris has done that matter – it has been the way that she goes about her work that has made the real difference. No one could really work tirelessly for so many years and with so much care if it was 'just a job'."

Iris said: "The best part has been helping the elderly, being with them and seeing the achievements they have made."

The mother of five and grandmother of seven added: "It has been about giving them a quality of life that they probably wouldn't have had if they had not been coming here. I do think we given them more sparkle. That's what a day centre is all about."

Bank House user Nelly Foster, aged 96, said: "I have been coming here for four years. It's very good and everyone is nice. We will miss Iris when she goes."

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