Guild Care celebrates outstanding finance manager as she retires after 33 years

Claire Binstead, our charity’s finance manager, is this week retiring after 33 years of dedicated service.

Tuesday, 15th December 2020, 10:08 am

To say that Claire will be missed would be an understatement. She has been with Guild Care since 1987, working under six different chief executives and chief financial officers, and has always been a key member of staff.

Indeed, Warren Fabes, our current chief financial officer, described Claire as ‘the go-to person at Guild Care’ and noted that many of the financial processes we use were developed and implemented by her.

Sean Duffy, our head of finance, said: “I am thankful for the help and support she has given me, from hiring me nine years ago to continuing to pass on her knowledge even now. Claire is dedicated, loyal and hardworking, and will be missed, not only in our team, but throughout Guild Care.”

Claire Binstead at the 2019 Guild Care Employee and Volunteer Awards

Claire’s first day at Guild Care was Monday, October 12, 1987. Memories of her first week are dominated by poor weather - the Great Storm of 1987 occurred three days into her new career.

Claire said: “We had trees down all over the place, smashed cars and things. We had to step over these trees to try and get into work.”

Despite this potential stormy omen, Claire hit the ground running. She jumped at the chance to complete an Association of Accounting Technicians qualification and was quickly promoted to a full-time finance officer role. After ten years of hard work, she was made finance manager in 1997 – a role that she has held up until her retirement.

As previously stated, in this role Claire has developed and implemented many of the financial processes we still use today. On top of this, she has demonstrated an exceedingly high level of work, noting: “The thing I’m most proud of is that I have never had a bad audit in the whole time that I’ve been finance manager. It’s always been not only a good audit, but a very good audit.”

The outstanding level of hard work and dedication Claire has given was recognised last year at our charity’s Employee and Volunteer Awards, where she was the recipient of the CEO Award.

Ever humble, Claire said: “I wasn’t expecting it at all. I was very, very surprised. I felt really honoured, that was really special, and I was on a real high afterwards.”

Asked what she will remember most fondly about Guild Care, Claire said: “Probably my colleagues and all the people I’ve been able to employ. I’m still friends with two people who were here when I joined in 1987. We’ve always had a good, stable team in finance.

“The thing I’ll probably remember most is that in 2012 I had breast cancer. I thought at the time it was the right thing to do to work through my radiotherapy. I have to say that the finance team and various other colleagues were great.

“They put together a rota to take me over to Brighton and back every single day to have my radiotherapy. That really shocked me, because I thought I was going to have to get on the train. But it was just ‘no, no – we’ve made a rota’. That was really nice.”

Claire’s last day at Guild Care will be Friday, December 18. We hope that she will enjoy her well-deserved retirement and, when government guidelines allow, her plans to adopt a rescue dog. We could not be more grateful for all her hard work and she will be deeply missed.

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