UK’s oldest charity shop worker has no plans to retire as she approaches 100

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The UK’s oldest charity shop worker has no plans to retire even as she approaches her 98th birthday – and has never missed a shift in over 25 years.

Hard-working Gladys Taylor has tirelessly spent each Tuesday afternoon at her local charity shop where she works as a fashion consultant.

The 97-year-old starts her four-hour shift at 1pm and gets straight to work, dressing mannequins, rearranging window displays, and nothing gets put on the shelves without her seal of approval.

But as she approaches her next birthday in April this year, she says she won’t even consider the notion of retirement as she’s still “young at heart”.

Gladys, who is widowed, was first introduced to St Rocco’s charity shop in Lymm, Cheshire, over 25 years ago by a friend and has spent each week there since.

She hopes to inspire others to join her and volunteer at their local charity shops to “spread kindness to the world”.



Gladys Taylor, 97, who has spent each Tuesday for the past 25 years volunteering at St Rocco’s Hospice in Lymm, Cheshire.

Gladys, who moved to Lymm after the war, said: “I’ve been doing this as long as I have because of the wonderful people who are working here at St Rocco’s, and it’s nice to be doing something useful.

“I love coming in every week, it’s what I look most forward to and it’s given me a purpose – which is lovely.

“I like keeping myself busy and there’s always so much to do here. I don’t just sit around.

“I want to inspire young and old people alike to help others. If I can do this at my age, anyone can.

“I’ve got no plans to stop anytime soon and don’t want to retire. I feel young, and I want to keep spreading kindness to the world because that’s what makes me happy.”



Gladys Taylor, 97, has no plans to retire even as she approaches her 98th birthday – and has never missed a shift in over 25 years.

Gladys worked as a hairdresser for 50 years after the Second World War which cultivated her fascination with people – as she listened intently to her chatty customers.

The town was still reeling from the post-war depression which left Lymm looking “dull and drab” but sprightly Gladys was determined to bring the community back together.

The mother-of-two said: “I was so fed up with the war, everything was dull and drab but I don’t do drab. I was in my heels, dressed up, always looking my best.

“When I first moved here it was like being buried alive, it was so dead.

“But sometimes all it takes is being positive and doing something for your community to turn things around.”

Despite being nearly 100, Gladys says she is always keen to learn more about people which has motivated her to keep working at the charity.

She said: “I like being around people, and everyone who comes in is always so pleasant it just makes my day.

“I might be 97 but even to this day I learn something new when I meet a person and listen to their story. My hearing is not so good these days, but I still listen.

“My current fascination is these selfies people keep talking about.

“People take pictures on their mobile phones and then it goes on the internet instantly for everyone to see.

“It’s wonderful but I don’t really understand it quite yet.”



Gladys Taylor, 97, who has spent each Tuesday for the past 25 years volunteering at St Rocco’s Hospice in Lymm, Cheshire.

Her best friend Paula Jones says people in the village will make a special effort on Tuesdays to go to see Gladys when she’s working.

The 58-year-old has known Gladys for 15 years and the pair frequently spent time together gossiping and talking about fashion.

Paula, who used to be Gladys’ next-door neighbour, said: “A lot of people know Gladys and some people come to St Rocco’s just to see her, she’s lovely company.

“I’ve known her for 15 years now. I see her every single week, it’s always a laugh and my twins have grown up with her.

“She will always tell me what to wear or tell me what I’m wearing isn’t right. She can be sassy, but it’s only because her fashion sense is on point.

“I don’t think Lymm was ready for Gladys and she came in and brought her contagious energy with her.”

She added: “She loves it at St Rocco’s, I can’t remember her ever missing a day. She’s very hard-working.”

St Rocco’s is a hospice in Warrington offering palliative care and support for families from the moment they are diagnosed with an illness that is no longer curable.

They have ten charity shops around the region.

Billy Welsby, Digital and Creative Editor at St Roccos, said: “All of our volunteers are such an important and integral part of the work that goes on at St. Rocco’s Hospice.

“Gladys, who has shown an amazing 25 years of dedication, and shows no sign of slowing down even at the age of 97, is one such volunteer.

“Our self-titled Fashion Consultant is known throughout Lymm for her impeccable style, fabulous customer service and determination.”

Paul Tonge, the Retail Operations Manager, added: “She‘s never short of a smile and works like a Trojan. Everyone needs to be more like Gladys”.



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