Work and golf passion for Irene, 80

Bookeeper and Company Secretary at Ellengate Developments Limited, Skelmersdale, Irene Lydiate turns 80 this week. She has worked for the firm for 28 years and once rode a BSA Bantam motorbike and played Right Half-Back for Preston Ladies in the 1950's. She is pictured with company directors, Eddie Halliwell, Mark Halliwell and Bob Pheasant
Bookeeper and Company Secretary at Ellengate Developments Limited, Skelmersdale, Irene Lydiate turns 80 this week. She has worked for the firm for 28 years and once rode a BSA Bantam motorbike and played Right Half-Back for Preston Ladies in the 1950's. She is pictured with company directors, Eddie Halliwell, Mark Halliwell and Bob Pheasant
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It’s a good job Irene Lydiate’s not the retiring type... her boss admits that his company “would be lost without her”.

No wonder then that Eddie Halliwell is so keen for his loyal bookkeeper and company secretary to keep up the good work, despite her celebrating her 80th birthday last week.

Not that she wants to retire - she describes her four passions as work, golf, going to church and gardening.

She said: “You see some people retire and suddenly think ‘that’s it’ but I want to keep my brain active. Retirement is not something I’ve ever considered.

“As long as my bosses are happy for me to continue then I’m quite happy to do so. It’s not as if I use computers - it’s old fashioned bookkeeping - and I enjoy the challenge.”

Irene, of Derby Drive, Rainford, has worked as a bookkeeper and company secretary at Ellangate Developments Ltd and F and J Halliwell Ltd in Skelmersdale for the last 28 years.

She celebrated her 80th birthday with a meal last Friday (October 24) and describes her bosses, Eddie Halliwell and Bob Pheasant, as “the best in the world”.

Irene, who once rode a BSA Bantam motorbike, now works three mornings a week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday - and spends much of her spare time playing golf at Dean Wood Golf Club in Upholland, where she is a former lady captain.

Her name was also featured in the famous women’s football book A League of Their Own because she played right half-back for Preston Ladies in the 1950s.

She added: “Women’s football was quite unusual then. We weren’t even allowed to play on any FA football fields so just played locally and in places like the Isle of Man. I still enjoy playing golf to this day and had the honour of being appointed lady captain at Dean Wood Golf Club back in 1990, which was a most enjoyable year.”

Mr Halliwell said: “We would be lost without Irene - she still does a great job. She’s very intelligent and very much from the old school - even if she’s really ill she will always drag herself in to work.”