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Kelling Hospital chaplain takes ‘early retirement’ aged 96

PUBLISHED: 15:43 21 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:02 21 February 2018

Chaplain of Kelling Hospital, Rev Robert Roe, retires. Robert pictured with family, friends and colleagues.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Chaplain of Kelling Hospital, Rev Robert Roe, retires. Robert pictured with family, friends and colleagues. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A north Norfolk hospital chaplain has taken “early retirement” at the age of 96.

Chaplain of Kelling Hospital, Rev Robert Roe, retires. Robert pictured with the new chaplain, Rev Janet Stewart. Picture: ANTONY KELLYChaplain of Kelling Hospital, Rev Robert Roe, retires. Robert pictured with the new chaplain, Rev Janet Stewart. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Revd Robert Roe had been part-time chaplain at Kelling Hospital, near Holt, since 1993.

At a reception held in his honour on Wednesday, February 21, he told guests: “I came for just one year, supposedly.

“The local rector was asked to become rural dean for one year, and he could not continue doing it, so I took it on.

“At that time there were just three wards and 84 beds. I did the year and no-one said anything, so I carried on. About 10 years ago I had a note from the national health to say that 65 was the normal retirement age - by that time I was about 84.

“I’m very grateful to have been able to do this. It has made my retirement very full and satisfying. I have always been welcomed by staff here.”

Mr Roe, who’s originally from Nottinghamshire, said his retirement would give him more time to play his violin, which he does as part of a trio of musicians.

The event was attended by his daughter Catherine Chalmers, from Norwich, who said: “He’s amazing. We have been joking that he’s retiring at 96.”

Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust chairman Geraldine Broderick said she was privileged to attend the reception.

She said: “I was expecting a very crusty old man and I found this young man. I hope the Norfolk air does the same for me. He looks fantastic.

“What has struck me by talking to people that know him much better than I do, is the service he has given to the local population. We have been privileged in having the most senior NHS employee.”

He has been replaced by the Revd Janet Stewart, who said he would be a hard act to follow.

The Revd Helen Garrard, lead chaplain for Colman and Norwich Community Hospitals, said; “Each time we’ve met he has inspired me. He has enhanced people’s experiences here.”

He was given a special mug plus other gifts and also received good wishes from the Bishop of Lynn.

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