A Dundee nursery worker said she’ll “miss her bairns” as she gets set to retire next week after serving generations of families during her career.
Hazel Ewing will be a familiar face to many adults and children – particularly in the Mid Craigie and Linlathen area where she has spent most of her 40-plus year career.
The former Meigle native came to Dundee in the early ’80s after starting her working life in Perth as an early years practitioner.
Hazel, 62, revealed she still keeps in touch with some of the children she cared for earlier in her career.
She added that they are now in their forties as she looks ahead to her final week at Rowantree Early Years Centre.
“I’m actually looking after their children now and one woman who is working with us was one of my nursery kids,” she said.
“The reason I got into this line of work is that I just loved children. My mum always said to me if I ever got lost in the streets she’d look for a pram and find me.”
During her decades-long career, the nursery worker has seen some changes in the education system.
She said: “I started off working for five years in Perth, in the Crieff Road Nursey, I moved to Longtown and that moved into Mid Craigie Primary School.
“Mid Craigie then merged with Mossgiel Primary to make Rowantree Primary and that’s where I’ve been ever since.
“There have been a few changes but its the same job, I’ve moved with the kids.”
Although Hazel couldn’t estimate how many children she’d worked worth it’s believed the number could be well into the thousands.
She added: “We have classes in the morning and afternoon so I couldn’t hazard a guess as to how many children I’ve worked with.
“At Longtown we could have 80 kids at any given time. 80 in the morning and 80 in the afternoon.”
“I will miss the bairns”
As the curtain comes down on her career in the rather challenging confines of Covid-19 Hazel admitted it “was time”.
The Dundee nursery worker added: “It has been a little different in recent times with all things related to the coronavirus but we have still been open for key workers.
“I’ve been delighted we’ve still been able to be open to see some of the children and I’m hoping we might see a few more next week.
“With not seeing the parents and the grandparents so much with the current measures I haven’t been able to tell them I’m retiring.
“I am apprehensive about retiring but I think it’s time, I’ll be spending more time with my grandchildren.
“It will be an emotional day next Friday but I’m glad I will hopefully get to see a few more of children next week.
“Along with the staff I will miss the bairns.”
Tina Ross, Depute Head Teacher Rowantree Primary and Early Years Centre, praised her colleague before wishing her well in her retirement.
She added: “Hazel has been such a big part of nursery life for so many children and families in her time here at Rowantree and she will be missed by us all.
“Her kind and caring nature has made her a firm favourite with the community and colleagues alike.
We wish Hazel a wonderful retirement and the best of wishes as she heads off to spend more time with her family.”
To read about school dinner lady Elaine Cleary who retired after 41 years, click here.