John and Shirley Watson farewell the Lismore Clinic where they have worked for a total of 46 years.
John and Shirley Watson farewell the Lismore Clinic where they have worked for a total of 46 years. Marc Stapelberg

John and Shirley give cleaning the brush after 46 years

THE Watson family will say goodbye to the Lismore Clinic after 103 years of services on December 1.

John and Shirley Watson have been a part of the family dynasty for the last 46 years, making sure the clinic is clean and presentable for all staff and patients.

John, who turns 80 in January, said he still remembers coming to the clinic as a young boy with his grandfather.

"I used to come here with my grandfather when I was in primary school, he worked here for about 22 years," John said.

"Then my aunty took over and she was here for 35 years, and now we've been here for 46 years which totals about 103 years.

"It's sad that this is the end of the road for our family being involved in it."

Since John and his wife Shirley took over the family business, they have seen a total of 36 doctors, six registrar doctors and seven practice managers.

"We have outlasted the lot of them."

John said it wasn't a easy decision for he and Shirley to make.

"It is something we agonised over for a year and a half, we didn't want to do it," he said.

"We're both 80 years of age and our sons have been badgering us about still working, the age we are and how long we've got left so we decided to call it a day.

"It's been a lot of fun here, we've enjoyed it and they have been so good to us here, the doctors and the practice staff, and we've enjoyed every minute of it."

Practice doctor Brian Witt said the couple will be sorely missed.

"John and Shirley are absolute champions, they've gone above and beyond with their attitude to looking after this place," Dr Witt said.

"Their work over the years has been very very much appreciated and it's going to be a hard act to follow."

Dr Witt said he will certainly keep in contact with the couple once they officially retire.

"I will still catch up with John and Shirley to have a chat and a yarn every now and then - they've become very much a part of our family."

John and Shirley said they will now use their free time to relax and visit family outside the Northern Rivers.



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