Express & Star

Grandmother, 80, recognised for inspirational 48 years of service in the NHS

An 80-year-old grandmother of five has been recognised for her inspirational 48 years of service to the NHS.

Meet, second from right, with colleagues. Credit: Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust

Rukman Kaur-Bains joined the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust in 1975 as a catering assistant, relishing the idea of serving the patients of the NHS in their time of need.

The health care worker, who is known as 'Meet' to staff, has cooked up more than 700,000 meals for patients at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and has never had a sick day since she started the role more than 45 years ago.

Meet showed no signs of retirement, saying that she doesn't want to retire, likes working and moving around and says that being a vegetarian has helped to keep her healthy.

Mrs Kaur-Bains said: "I've been a vegetarian for more than 30 years – not eating meat keeps me healthy!

"I practice yoga three or four times a week with my granddaughter Grace, 16. I don't want to retire – I like working and I don't want to be sitting at home. I like to keep moving."

Meets serves up to 60 meals a day to patients of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and boasts a perfect sickness record, not taking a single sickness-related day off in 48 years.

Mrs Kaur-Bains continued: "It's a lot easier than it used to be at the old Royal.

"We used to have to prepare the food from fresh, peeling potatoes and onions, but now it arrives already prepared."

On her birthday she was presented with a big cake at a meeting with managers and colleagues, who are appreciative of Meet's longevity and dedication to the service.

Lynne Connor, catering services manager at the RWT, said: "She’s well respected and a valued member of staff – you would never think she’s going to be 80, she knocks the young ones into shape! She’s an example to everyone – it’s remarkable what she’s done

"I think she loves the company she gets from coming to work and I don’t think she’s got any plans to give up yet."

Two catering supervisors, Denise Cotton and Georgina Watkin, added: "She’s amazing – she does yoga and never talks about retirement. She’s very proud of her family."

Meet married in 1958 at the age of 15 in India to ironworker Nazar Singh. She eagerly moved to England when she was 19 in 1963, two years after her husband.

Hundreds of people took to Facebook to congratulate Meet, with Councillor Philip Bateman of Wednesfield North, saying she deserves to meet the mayor.

Councillor Bateman wrote: "Congratulations! A truly magnificent working biography.

"Let her meet the Mayor so the city can show its pride in 'Meets' achievements.