City Ranger retires

ONE of the City's most familiar faces, Ranger Kathleen Hughes has retired.

Kathleen began work as a Ranger with the City Centre Initiative in April 2000, coming to the post from an ACE Scheme at Maydown Ebrington, which came to an end the previous August.

"I happened to see this an advertisement for Cityside Ranger and I thought 'I wouldn't mind having a wee crack at that'. Before the ACE Scheme I had worked for the Social Services at Gransha and I was used to walking, and I love local history and that kind of drew me to it. Anyway I applied for it not thinking that I would get it, and I still wanted to work, and after a wee while in the house I decided that I would start applying for jobs. I couldn't even tell you how many jobs I applied for and never got replies. So when I applied for this one I didn't even think I would get a response, but I did and I got an interview and I got the job and started in April 2000.

"My husband is retiring on November 12, which is part of the reason I'm retiring, to be honest. I'm still pretty fit and could carry on, but I just thought I might as well retire now while I am still fit to do the things I want to do when I have free time. Nobody knows what is round the corner and I have worked all my life apart from when I had my three children, so I have worked since I was 15, and I just want to now take it easy."

Kathleen says she does not have any plans for her retirement other than "taking one day at a time".

Her final day 'one the street' was Thursday last and that Friday saw her hang up her familiar red jacket and head home to put her feet up.

"I'd really like to thank the agencies that I worked with, without whom I could not have done my job. I cannot mention individuals, because there are too many, but it would be the cleansing department of the City Council, Roads Service, Water Service, PSNI the Tourist Board DVCB, the management and director of the City centre Initiative and the Peace and Reconciliation group staff, and the traders. Although we provided the service for the traders, they made my job interesting and good, and of course i'd also like to thank the tourists.

"The agencies were great for getting things sorted, and when it came to getting things cleaned up, postering problems and all the rest of it, the City Council really stood out, they were brilliant. I could not speak highly enough of the staff in the cleansing department," she said.

During her 10 years with the CCI Kathleen also made it onto the small screen, taking part in the 'FATLADs' series as one of the interviewees: "I enjoyed that. That was brilliant, first class, and Bronagh Gallagher never passes me when she is back in Derry. Her mum tells me how she is getting on and tells me about new parts she has to play. I have a great rapport with Bronagh as a result of that."

Asked what she would miss most about her job, Kathleen said she would miss her colleagues - the office staff, Jim, Clare, Lorraine and Andy, and I suppose I just miss everybody. The town knows me. I don't necessarily know everybody know names, but I know faces, and I will just miss getting up and going out to work, but that is not to say I'll sit and vegetate."

One possible thing she will do is take a trip to France - a place she has always wanted to visit, and two sisters in England who will shortly find sister number three on their doorstep.