Farewell to Sandra James


undefinedSandra James has retired after more than 26 years with our diocese. A farewell lunch for Sandra was held at Church House, Daresbury on August 28. She started work as Senior Secretary in the Education Department on 15 May 1989, when Kylie Minogue was at no 1 in the pop charts with �Hand on Your Heart' and Margaret Thatcher has just begun her 11th year as Prime Minister.

Shortly before Sandra began, a ‘no smoking’ policy had been adopted at the former diocesan offices in Chester. When the current Director of Education, Jeff Turnbull, came in January 1991, he had no idea Sandra was a smoker. He assumed she was very keen on dairy products – as she kept popping out of the office telling everyone she was ‘going for a yoghurt’. 

Over the 26 years Wigan-born Sandra has worked with the education team, she’s overseen many changes – including the introduction of computers into office life. He role has seen her manage the administrative work of the Adviser for Ministry among Children, the Youth Officer and Director of Education.

Married to Allan, a retired Colour Sergeant with the 1st Battalion, 22nd Cheshire Regiment, the couple have two grown-up daughters and three granddaughters. Sandra and Allan live in Llay, Wrexham. In her retirement, Sandra plans to see more of her children, do more gardening and do some voluntary work.

Jeff Turnbull said: “Sandra has always demonstrated a flexibility of approach and ability to learn new skills. Her caring, Christian approach has seen her demonstrating real support for colleagues facing difficulties. She has just the right friendly and professional approach needed.

“Sandra will be greatly missed by her friends and colleagues and we wish her a long, happy and well-deserved retirement.”

He added that if he had to choose one word to sum up Sandra it would be “caring”.

During the celebration buffet lunch for her retirement Sandra said: “I’m going to miss you all so very much. Thanks for your friendship and comradeship over the years, and my lovely gift. I’m overwhelmed. God bless you all!”

Sandra was presented with a big bunch of gardening vouchers as a leaving present.

She was thrilled to see so many former department workmates at her leaving do, including: former children’s advisers, the Revds Margaret Marr and Alison Harris; former youth officers, the Revds Pete and Helen Chantry, Dot Gosling and Alan Ward; and the former children’s evangelist, the Revd Janet Arnold.

Other former colleagues there included: Sarah Smith, Doreen Thompson, Ann Finlay, Jenny Dent, Hilary Johnson – and Chris Woodward (who herself retired earlier this summer). 

Top picture - Sandra James with Jeff Turnbull

Below - Sandra with her colleagues