30 years of friendship in the making and many more to go

Two friends with over 68 years of experience between them reveal how their bond has grown from strength to strength over the decades.

70-year-old Development Manager, Helen Kemp, and 66-year-old Development Manager, Joan Neely, first met at a Bield manager’s group meeting in 1988.

The two managers’ friendship grew after discovering they both trained as nurses and had a lot in interest in common.

Yet, despite years of friendship, the pair have grown closer than ever over the phone during lockdown.

Helen from Grendon Court in Stirling said: “I first met Joan at a managers meeting that we used to go to at a complex in the rented sector. I think that would have been in 1988.

“We became good friends as we had both trained as nurses and had a lot in common. We don’t socialise outside of work as much as we would like but we meet up for lunch at times and also with other managers.

“Our friendship has got even stronger through this last year with Covid-19. Members of my family have been seriously ill, and Joan’s support has been wonderful.

“I can’t wait to see her once this is all over.”

Joan from Elmwood Court in Bothwell, South Lanarkshire added: “Helen and I gravitated to each other, as we had both trained as nurses, and have families around the same age and working in the private sector.

“We were a very small team and it was nice to chat with someone who was maybe having the same problems as yourself.

“Helen and I have been friends since we met, but I would say that over the last year we have become closer.

“She’s always at the end of the phone for me and that is nice to know. You could say that instead of pen pals we are phone friends!”

The pair highlighted that the best part about their job is meeting people from all walks of life with a variety of personalities passing through the development, from staff to customers to contractors there is always something going on.

Joan added: “I have had so many fond memories over the years with Bield. From Christmas Parties, Garden Parties and Coffee afternoons, but I think my fondest memories are those of the little choir that was started in Elmwood Court.

“We got so much enjoyment and fun out of the choir, and we passed on some of that joy to the customers of not only Elmwood Court, but to neighbouring Bield developments, Woman’s Guilds, Bowling Clubs.”

Looking back on their time at Bield, the biggest change the friends have witness is technology. Joan shared how much easier it is to keep in touch with other people and departments whilst Helen agreed adding she used to have to write notes to customers by hand and how much productivity increase with the introduction of a typewriter then the computer.