A care home has said a fond farewell to their “very own Mary Berry”.
Great grandmother Carol Roberts is packing away her rolling pins and hanging up her pots and pans after 32 years’ service at Pendine Park’s Hillbury House Care Home in Wrexham.
But Carol admits leaving Hillbury is going to be a wrench as she adores the team she works with and loves getting to know the residents.
In her retirement, she is planning to spend more time caring for the environment and campaigning against animal cruelty.
She said: “I actually started next door in Gwern Alyn Care Home in February 1987. A friend, who was a housekeeper at Gwern Alyn, told me they were on the lookout for a catering assistant so I applied.
“I became a cook, although I’m self-taught I suppose, and worked at Gwern Alyn for 10 years before I moved to the main Pendine Park site in Summerhill Road where I worked for 16 years.
“Six years ago I moved to the kitchens at Hillbury House and I love it. It’s been the best place to work. The staff are fantastic and we just get on as a team.
“I do mostly baking and concentrate on baking shortbreads, cakes and puddings although we all pitch in and help where it’s needed. We have so much fun and it’s just such a lovely atmosphere.”
Carol, a mum of two, grandmother of seven and a great grandmother of three, added: ‘I have enjoyed seeing Pendine Park grow. I love the ethos and how nothing is too much trouble.
“We try and personalise the menu as much as we can so residents get what they want. And there are no strict rules. For example, last week, a resident came and asked for some sausage butties in the middle of the afternoon.
“If he was in his own home he make himself one but this is now his home and it shouldn’t be any different. It took no time to put a couple of bangers on and give him his sandwich. That’s what I like about the place, it’s about people.
“I also enjoy sorting out the catering for resident’s birthday parties or special anniversaries and events such as the summer fair.
“Of course everyone gets a personalised cake and I have always enjoyed preparing the party food.
And with more spare time on her hands Carol, who is Wrexham born and bred, says she intends dedicating more time to her passion for the environment and preventing animal cruelty.
She said: “I love taking part in beach clean-ups and don’t mind a nice bus journey to Barmouth to take part.
“But I’m definitely going to miss everyone at Hillbury, both residents and staff. It’s been a wonderful job and although I’m looking forward to retiring in one way it’s the people and close knit team I’ll miss most.”
Hillbury manager Cindy Clutton is going to miss seeing Carol in the care home’s kitchens and will definitely miss her butter shortbreads!
She said: “Carol has been a big part of the Hillbury House team and always has a smile on her face, she’s our very own Mary Berry.
“We are also losing catering assistant Debbie Morris who is also retiring after 12 years of service. Both Carol and Debbie put the hearts and souls into their jobs at Hillbury House and they are going to be very difficult to replace.
“We might be able to find people with the physical skills Carol and Debbie have but it’s sometimes more difficult to find people with the right caring attitude, people that will fit into the team here at Hillbury.”
She added: “I just want to wish Carol and Debbie all the very best as they hang up their aprons and hope they enjoy a long and happy retirement. And of course, if Carol wishes to bake shortbreads at home and drop some in for me I’d be ever so grateful!”