Meeter and greeter Jim Shaw bows out

By Betty Jeeves

Jim Shaw of Waihi has retired after 31 years as a hospital aide at Waihi Hospital and LifeCare Village.

The 72-year-old has many happy memories of his time there in a position that came about "through the grapevine".

"I loved my job, I'm going to miss the staff and contact with patients - I just love old people. And I've had a lot of fun with staff," he says.

Facility manager Carol Duske says it used to amaze her, the number of people Jim knew.

"They were lucky to get past the front door without being greeted by Jim, he knew them by name.

"He's a real identity of the hospital and I recall he was our Father Christmas on many occasions. He arrived on a tandem bike with a Christmas fairy on the back one year," she laughs.

"That was Lorraine Gray from Katikati," Jim chuckles.

"Even though he lived at the beach, Jim would ride to work on his bike and latterly on a motor scooter.

"He was loyal, he was reliable and although he could occasionally be a bit grumpy, it didn't last long," Carol laughs. "He had a fun positive personality and the glass was always half full not half empty.

"We had a pair of Jims - Little and Big - so he was known as 'Little Jim'.

"He was a great staff member and part of a great team. We'll miss him, but he'll be back visiting, he's a great guy," Carol says.

In the late 70s Jim was working in the building industry but a downturn saw him begin a Mr Fix It business.

"That only lasted one day because this job came up. I heard about the position, phoned the matron Mary Sawyer who told me there was a job at the hospital and asked, 'When can you start?' I said, 'Tonight'.

"The day I walked in the door at 8.30pm, Jim Mould took me through procedures for about three hours, then finished his shift and left me on my own with the guidance of two nurses, Barbara Fyfe and Judy Mould.

"The next night I went to work and a letter had been left for me from the matron to say if I liked the job, she would make it permanent.

"It's a big thank you to Jim. We worked together for years, he was excellent to work with, we got on well and had a lot of fun," Jim says.

However the night shifts were unsettling for him, he couldn't sleep during the day, so changed to morning and afternoon shifts.

Through his work Jim has met many people from the area who stop to chat when he is in town.

"One of my saddest moments up there was helping a guy I went to school with, did a lot of swimming with and we did our apprenticeship together as cabinet makers. I nursed him," he says.

A volunteer firefighter with the Waihi Beach Volunteer Fire Brigade where he lived until last year, Jim, a Gold Star member with 47 years service and now a Support Firefighter, says he has also looked after fellow firefighters.

Enjoying being involved in the community, Jim's volunteer work doesn't stop with the Fire Service, where he is a past-president of the Auckland Provincial Gold Star Association, as he is also involved with Waihi Beach Community Patrol each fortnight. And he keeps himself busy mowing lawns for those unable to do it themselves and enjoys playing outdoor bowls at the Waihi Beach Bowling Club.

But the main thing in life for Jim is to enjoy his retirement. He is getting back into cycling and since buying a 50cc Suzuki motor scooter and travelling to Paeroa and Whangamata on it, he hopes to join a 50cc scooter club which is being formed in Waihi.

Family is special to Jim and he also wants to spend more time with Lynette, his wife of 48 years, and family which includes six grandsons and a granddaughter.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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