On October 15, 1950, a shy young girl began sewing handkerchiefs in Alec Irwin’s factory in Magheralin.
63 years later to the day, Eileen Burns has finally decided that it’s time to bid the world of work farewell.
The Moira woman’s amazing service to the company which has since changed its name to Broomhill then Bedeck was recognised with a retirement celebration attended by all of her co-workers this Tuesday.
Eileen, who will be 77 next Tuesday, told the ‘MAIL’: “I was 14 when I started. I was awful shy then but I’ve changed.
“I was working downstairs on the machines. It wasn’t a big place then, they’ve just kept building and building.”
She added: “Alec Irwin was my first boss, then Gordon, then Gary and Andrew. I’ve worked for three generations of the Irwin family.”
Eileen said she was surprised by the amount of effort the company had gone to for her retirement. She said: “They did something for me to mark 50 years, then 60 years, so I wasn’t expecting anything more.”
“I’ll miss the craic and all,” said Eileen.
For her retirement celebration Eileen was joined by former colleague Mary Mullholland, who retired nine years ago.
Eileen said: “Mary and I grew up beside each other and worked together most of our lives.
“We used to have great fun together in work, dressing up for Christmas and carrying on.”
Eileen and her husband Bobby have been married for 57 years and have been living in the same house in Moira for 56 of those years. They have one daughter - Lyn.
Paying tribute to Eileen, joint MD Andrew Irwin said: “I wish her a long, healthy and happy retirement. She’ll be really missed.
“Whenever you heard Eileen singing along to the machines humming you knew things were going well. It’s people like Eileen who have put this company where it is.”