Matron leaves hospital after two decades

IPSWICH: After more than two decades working at Ipswich Hospital, a popular head matron is today finally enjoying a well-earned rest.Joe Greenleaf retired from his role as head matron of the care of the elderly wards at the Heath Road site on Friday and celebrated with a gathering of colleagues and friends.

IPSWICH: After more than two decades working at Ipswich Hospital, a popular head matron is today finally enjoying a well-earned rest.

Joe Greenleaf retired from his role as head matron of the care of the elderly wards at the Heath Road site on Friday and celebrated with a gathering of colleagues and friends.

It was 23 years ago when Mr Greenleaf, 63, first started volunteering at the hospital while working as an operations manager at the docks in Felixstowe.

When, two years later, he was asked to become a member of the team full-time, he decided to take the plunge, ditch the company car and dedicate the rest of his working life to the NHS.

He said: “I felt like a career change. It was more by accident that I fell into this but I wouldn't have missed it for the world.”

Mr Greenleaf joined as a healthcare assistant, and then completed his training to become a nurse, working his way up the ranks to make it as head matron.

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Mr Greenleaf, who lives in Dedham, Essex, has not been one to sit in the shadows, having been heavily involved in various projects across the hospital over the years, including setting up a short stay ward for the elderly and the creation of a community garden, which is due to open this year.

He has also taken part in fundraising, including riding from John O'Groats to Land's End on exercise bikes to raise money for an elderly care unit.

He added: “I shall miss everyone. They are a great bunch and I will miss them dearly. They will probably be locking the door to stop me coming back in!”

Mr Greenleaf does not plan to take it easy for too long - he is looking forward to a spot of travelling, particularly in his favourite country - Italy.