Shoreham pensioner celebrates 20 years with Age UK

Joyce Brunt, 86, manager of the Age UK shop in Brunswick Road, Shoreham DM15115885a

Joyce Brunt, 86, manager of the Age UK shop in Brunswick Road, Shoreham DM15115885a

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CHARITY shop manager Joyce Brunt has spent 20 years working for Age UK – despite being a pensioner herself.

Now aged 86, she is still doing everything in the Shoreham shop, including lifting up to 10kg of goods a day and working full time.

It all started when she lost her husband, Clifford, to cancer in August 2005, after 48 years together.

She was working in the evenings as a taxi operator but her son, Barry, encouraged her to find a full-time job. He lives in Shoreham and spotted an advert for the deputy manager role at Age Concern in Brunswick Road.

“I started here with ten people,” recalls Joyce. “When I first came here, it was a doddle. Now people throw more stuff away, it is a throwaway society.”

She found it helped her cope with bereavement, although she was driving her husband’s car to work and every time she got in it, it upset her.

She explained: “Everything in the day was all right because I was with people. If I retire, I will be on my own all day.

“We get older people coming in here who are lonely and if they would only do a few hours in the shop, they would turn their lives around. You have to make a life for yourself and enjoy it the best you can.”

She has since sold her bungalow in Mile Oak and moved in with another son, David, in Fishersgate.

She was at the charity’s Shoreham shop until the deputy manager role was axed, then travelled around for the charity. When the manager job at the Haywards Heath shop came up, she was asked to step in and three years later, she was offered the opportunity to return to the Shoreham shop as manager. In April 2009, Age Concern and Help the Aged joined together and a year later, became Age UK.

“I love it here,” said Joyce. “It is interesting. You get different things in every day.

“You do meet a lot of nice people and I enjoy a talking to them.

“The shop was refurbished this year for me. I like the shop looking nice and we do quite well here. I do everything.

“I go home feeling tired but I get up and think, oh good, I have got to go to work today. I do really enjoy it or I would not be here.”

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