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The Golden Jubilee 1952-2002

It's our working jubilee too!

Val Proudfoot
Les Henry
David Conn
Jim Kerr
Jack Shirvell
Tom Griffith
Lesley Eke
Audrey Hawkin
Dai Owen
Jim Dade
Sadie Jefferson
James Finlay
Sadie Jefferson
She is the only person in Northern Ireland working in a pharmacy for more than 50 years. That is what pharmacy assistant Sadie Jefferson was told by an Ulster Pharmaceutical Society representative on her golden jubilee in the job.

The premises in Portrush, County Antrim, are now owned by Lloyd Pharmacies but since she started work in at the J.G.W. Boggs Medical Hall in 1951, Sadie has had several employers.

Sadie enjoys the ever-changing nature of her job
"I started off as a dispensary assistant when I was 15-years-old. In those days it was very different to what we do now.

"All the medicines had to be prepared and made up where as now, they're all ready made. And we had to write all the prescriptions into a book whereas now we use computers," she said.

Keen to learn

But with all these technological advances, how has Sadie coped?

"Very well actually. I'm always keen to learn and I wouldn't let anything beat me.

"In pharmacy you're never really trained because you are always learning.

"There are always new drugs coming out and each week we would get something new."

Sadie recounts the differing role of the pharmacist in Portrush when she was starting out on her working life.

Births, deaths and dogs

"Eye tests were carried out on the premises while birth, death and marriage certificates were notarised. We even dealt with dangerous animals.

"Maybe if a dog had bitten somebody or had gone a bit mad, it would be taken in here to be put to sleep.

"The pharmacist would put the dog in a galvanised box and knock it out with chloroform."

She has fond memories of the days when the small town on the Antrim coast was a haven for holidaymakers in Northern Ireland.

"We used to get all sorts through that door and I still see many of them who come back to Portrush for their holidays each year.

"Customers these days are harder to please though," said Sadie.

The business had to be temporarily relocated in 1970 after it was damaged in a spate of firebomb attacks in the town.

Never bored

Sadie recalled: "Incendiary devices were planted in nearby shops and our shop caught fire as well."

Sadie with her first boss outside the pharmacy
But the pharmacy was rebuilt and Sadie carried on serving the people of the seaside town.

After 50 years in the job this remarkable woman insists that she has never been bored in her job and has no plans to retire.

"There is nothing I would change about it and I have never considered changing jobs.

"If I was 15 again, I would do exactly the same. It is very varied and it's not as if you're working on the same thing every day.

"Young people these days do not take the same interest in work. They're out the door as quick as they can get away at night time," she said.

"I think that in 50 years time, there will be very few people like me."

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