17 February 2023

Gill Collen cuts her retirement cake, watched by colleagues at the Innovation Agency at Sci-Tech Daresbury

One of the first staff members to be recruited when the Innovation Agency was set up ten years ago, has retired after a total of 45 years in the NHS.

Admin officer Gill Collen has worked in several local hospitals and NHS offices in the Runcorn and Warrington area and was showered with tributes from colleagues when she logged off for the final time.

Gill was described as ‘a linchpin’ and ‘an amazing, supportive colleague’ by her colleagues at the Innovation Agency.

She was 17 when she left college and started work in 1975 as a junior receptionist in Warrington General Hospital.

Gill said: “I have still got the Pitman shorthand notebooks I used in my first job, stored in my attic! I’ve enjoyed working in different parts of the NHS; I moved to Warrington Infirmary and then back to Warrington General when changes were happening.

“After a two-year break while I was having my two sons I returned as a medical secretary to a gynaecologist, Mr H W C Davies; then I became supervisor of medical secretaries at what was Winwick Hospital and I helped with the move into Hollins Park where I became involved in medical staffing and recruitment.”

After another reorganisation, Gill was moved to Leigh as medical secretary. The commute was too long so she looked for a new job closer to home.

“I saw an advert for admin staff at the Innovation Agency when it was just starting up and I thought, that looks interesting! I was the first person to be recruited after the chief exec and non exec directors in 2013 and I have watched it grow and develop over ten years.

“I have really enjoyed being involved in different projects to get innovations into the NHS; it might not be the front line but I know that innovation is important and what the Innovation Agency does is helping patients – and one day one of these innovations might help me!”

Gill is a member of Warrington Road Runners and Mersey Triathlon Club and has three marathons and hundreds of road and trail races under her belt.

Innovation Agency Chief Executive Dr Phil Jennings said: “I have never seen such heartfelt, effusive messages as those showered on Gill from colleagues who, like me, are very sad to see her go. I am very grateful to Gill for all her great work for the Innovation Agency and for the wider NHS and I wish her the very best for the future.”

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