Great-grandmother celebrates final shift at McDonald's as she approaches 80th birthday
When most of us hit our sixties, we would be starting to think about wrapping up work for a quieter life.
But that wasn’t what Washington great-grandmother Muriel Haggerty had in mind.
The 79-year-old instead launched a new career at McDonald’s and – after almost 20 years – is now hanging up her apron to retire from Sunderland’s High Street West branch.
Muriel has worked in the restaurant’s dining area since she was 61, after previously working for textile company Bairdwear.
She was encouraged to apply for her job by granddaughter Louise, who was a manager in the branch.
“All the staff have been absolutely fantastic,” Muriel told the Echo.
“They are a lovely bunch to work with and I have been spoiled rotten.”
To mark Muriel’s much-deserved retirement, customers and staff showered her with gifts including flowers, a custom-made cake, a necklace and bottles of her favourite tipple – a nice whisky.
And spent her last shift on Saturday, February 1 being visited by colleagues past and presents, as well as good friends she's made over the years.
Christine Martin is a regular customer to the branch with her family and became close pals with Muriel from the moment she started work.
After presenting the hard-working employee with a cake shaped like a packet of French fries and other gifts, she said: “It’s not going to be the same without her, she kept everything ticking over.
“You respected Muriel, no matter what.”
Leading up to her retirement, Muriel, who has two children, nine grandchildren and more than a dozen great-grandchildren, has worked from 10am until 3pm, three days a week.
Before each shift, she starts the day with a sausage and egg McMuffin – with the chain’s famous McNuggets her go-to order.
She’s already thinking about how she’s going to fill her week, already pledging not to stay at home with her feet up.
Muriel said of her time at McDonald's: “I would like to thank the staff and customers for the joy that they have given me.
“It’s been absolutely topper – especially today.”