Beaten by a hair: Oldham lifeguard ranks just below Stephen Hawking in top 10 UK workers over 50

An Oldham lifeguard has been listed in the UK’s top 10 employees aged over 50, but was pipped to the top five by Professor Stephen Hawking.

Janet Appleyard, 61, who works at Oldham Community Leisure Centre, was publically nominated for the list, which was compiled by the UKs biggest recruitment publication, People Matters, to demonstrate the value of the older workforce.

Janet spoke of her surprise at being named on the list, which includes a Lord, a Dame, two doctors, a surgeon, and a barrister – as well as Professor Hawking, who appears in fifth, just two places above her.

“I am in with the elite,” she said.

“I was amazed to feature in it at all, let alone alongside such distinguished individuals.”

Despite having been a lifeguard at the Oldham pool for 24 years, Janet surprisingly only learned to swim in her mid-thirties, starting working at the pool after losing a job as a cleaner.

Aside from her lifeguarding, the spritely 61-year-old is also a qualified gym instructor, trampoline coach and ice skater.

“I was frightened of the water,” she said.

“I couldn’t touch the bottom – I couldn’t do anything.

“But I just love the leisure industry and I’ve always had that little bit inside me that, if I want something, I always go for it.  Even if I fail, I’ve tried.

“I don’t relish the thought of retirement because I love work.  It’s part of me.”

The OCL’s Head of Human Resources Louise McGreal praised her achievements, “Janet is an ambassador for our company and a great example of what can be achieved with hard work and commitment.

“She has done exceptionally well to make the top ten and should be very proud”. 

Related Articles