A receptionist has taken her last call after 40 years working for a GP surgery.
After what initially started as little more than a part-time position, Ann Walton went on to work at Silverdale Family Practice, in South Hetton, for four decades.
The 69-year-old, who had worked since the age of 15, says she is already missing her former colleagues and patients.
She was rewarded with a surprise party and meal for her sterling efforts.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute of working here,” said Ann, who has been married to Harry, 71, for the past 49 years.
“I started out just doing a few hours a week answering the phones on a lunchtime but eventually I went full-time.
“About a year and a half ago I reduced my hours to 24 and I feel I’m now ready to retire.”
Ann, who lives in South Hetton and is mum to Tony, 46, and Alison, 40, added that she hopes to use her spare time to enjoy some holidays and see more of her five grandchildren.
Dr Sanna Moss, partner at the practice, said: “Ann is a much loved and respected member of the Silverdale practice team.
“She has been key to establishing and maintaining the reputation of the practice as caring and putting the care of patients as our first priority.
“This has been reflected in our rating this year in the National GP Patient Survey where we rank in the top 10 surgeries in the North East and 46 out of 7612 nationally.
“The partners of surgery would like to thank Ann again for all her hard work and commitment to the surgery, she will be a huge miss and we wish her all the best for her retirement.”
Reception manager Kate Burnside heaped praised on Ann, saying: “It’s been very emotional but Ann has had a great send-off.
“She’s had a meal with the doctors and nurses and a surprise party with all of the patients too.
“Some of the patients she’s known since they were babies so she’s really well thought of.”