Meet the Edinburgh grandmother who refuses to give up working

While most of us dream of the day we can finally wave our free bus pass and kiss goodbye to the Monday blues forever, there’s one Edinburgh octogenarian who simply refuses to quit the day job and retire.

Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 9:51 am
Updated Wednesday, 23rd January 2019, 9:59 am

Workaholic Moira Hepburn, an 82-year-old grandmother of six and great grandmother of four, has laboured up this particular Munro for more than six decades, and she’s not content with idly sitting by to soak up the view.

Since 1987, Moira has worked as a warden at a sheltered housing complex and, until last month, at a block of retirement flats in Blackford.

Moira says a new policy by firm Trinity Factors means employees are now required to use laptops for admin purposes.

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Moira Hepburn Ross Bandstand

Faced with the added stress of learning new skills, Moira, who reached pensionable age when John Major was still UK prime minister, suddenly felt a little redundant. After months of careful consideration, she left just after Christmas.

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‘Auntie’ Moira recalls her Ross Bandstand glory days

“It was a bit of a wrench to leave, as I’d been there for so long,” explains Moira, who lives in south Edinburgh. “I’m so fond of the residents; they’re like family to me.

“Things were changing. They (Trinity Factors) handed me a laptop and I’m afraid I’m not that technically-minded.”

Children's entertainment at the Ross Bandstand, Princes Street Gardens.

Mandy McGegor, the youngest of Moira’s four daughters said her mum had little choice but to leave.

“For somebody who was always on top of everything, suddenly everything became a bit of a headache,” said Mandy, 52.

“Giving an 82-year-old a laptop and asking them to put everything on spreadsheets was a big ask and she didn’t get much guidance.”

On Moira’s final day on 28 December, teary residents rallied round to bestow upon her bouquets of flowers and farewell gifts.

Moira Hepburn, 82, refuses to give up working. Picture: TSPL

But far from taking a well-earned rest, inspirational Moira’s raring to go for a whole new challenge. She’s found a part-time job which will involve her travelling round Edinburgh (she still drives) offering companionship to elderly people. She starts on Monday.

“Sometimes people say ‘I’m 65 now and I’m retiring’, and I always think I can’t think of anything I’d rather not do,” laughs Moira.

So what’s the secret to Moira’s seemingly eternal source of get up and go? She claims it’s partly down to pursuing her lifelong passion for playing music.

Prior to working with the elderly, Moira spent thirty years playing the organ during children’s hour at the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens. The kids referred to her as ‘Auntie Moira’.

And when children’s hour was unceremoniously axed in the 1980s, she never gave up her love of performing and plays her medley of popular oldies several times a month at clubs and care homes around the Capital.

On the Sunday before Christmas, she performed at the City Chambers with the Lord Provost in attendance.

“It’s all about keeping your mind active with things that you love doing,” asserts Moira.

“I’m sure I’ll wind down eventually, but I’m definitely not ready to stop just yet.”