A LONG-SERVING manager at a Tyne Valley care home has handed over the reins after seven years in her post.

Hazel Whitehouse has worked at Lowgate Care Home since 2008, taking over as manager in 2012.

However, she decided to leave the business and semi-retire.

Her role will be taken by current deputy-manager Karen Officer, who has worked at the care home for six years.

According to Hazel, there was nobody better for the job – but it’s not an easy role.

She said: “I didn’t choose her, but I think if they hadn’t picked her I’d have taken back my resignation!

“You have to expect the unexpected here – it’s like trying to hold a big bag of water. You can’t expect people to do anything that you wouldn’t do yourself.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here. It’s been a constant challenge. You don’t have two days the same, but that’s a good thing. You never get bored.”

Hazel trained as a nurse in the 1970s before working in child care for a few years in the district.

She returned to the care business after child care, and has remained there ever since.

She recently moved to Scotland, meaning she had been staying at the care home between shifts to avoid the long commute.

However, she doesn’t have any plans to stop just yet.

She added: “I’ll be semi-retiring. I’ll still do some nursing work and some bank shifts.”

Deputy manager Karen admitted Hazel would be a big miss, but said she was looking forward to her new role.

She said: “Hazel has been here a long time and she will be a massive miss. She’s the heart of Lowgate, and there’s going to be a bit of a hole to fill.

“When she told me she was leaving, I kept thinking it was a joke. We’ve worked together for six years and we work well together. I’m excited about the challenges my new job is going to bring. There’s a really good team here, so I think it will be a smooth transition.”