Tributes to long-serving Windsor worker who has retired aged 84

Shay Bottomley

Tributes have been paid to an 84-year-old Windsor worker who has retired after more than half a century at a manufacturing firm.

Judy Meakes has retired from Keeler after a career which began in October 1963.

At the time, Alec Douglas-Home had just been appointed Prime Minister, and the term ‘Beatlemania’ had only just first appeared in a newspaper.

Dedworth-based Keeler has specialised in the manufacturing of ophthalmic equipment since 1917.

Judy began at the company working in the electrical department, where she would solder equipment as part of the manufacturing process.

Later in her career, Judy moved to packing, where she remained for many years until her retirement.

“I’ve always been really, really happy at Keeler,” said Judy.

“I’ve always worked with very nice people – I’ve been really lucky to work with them.

“I never thought I would be here for this long. When I started in 1963, I was only part-time, and then I moved to full-time once my son left school.”

Her enthusiasm for working and her desire to always be achieving encouraged Judy to remain at the company for more than half a century.

“People say I’m mad! They say: ‘I want to get out of here as soon as I can when they reach a certain age,” she explained.

“However, I’m not somebody who likes to sit down and read – I have to be on the go all of the time.”

Judy said that she would miss her wonderful colleagues, some of whom she has worked with for much of her career at Keeler. The company held a surprise party to mark her 50 years of service in 2013.

“I will miss getting up and coming into work. Some days I wake up at 6am and think ‘I don’t want to go in, but, when I get in, I just love being here,” she said. Although she will miss Keeler, Judy said she is looking forward to her retirement and the summer ahead.

“Now the weather is getting better, I can look after my garden; I have my house plants, outdoor plants and hanging baskets to look after – I do love my garden.

“I’m also hoping we can go to Malaga with my husband, son and daughter-in-law. We usually go every year, as my daughter-in-law used to own an apartment out there, so I’m hoping we can get out there this summer as well.”

Before her departure, the company hosted a special celebration in honour Judy’s 57 years of dedication to Keeler, with many of her colleagues in attendance to wish her farewell.

Judy completed her last shift at Keeler last week. 

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