Television gran serves up restaurant smiles

Ruth Lee from The Town That Never Retired at Trattoria San Marco in Much Hoole
Ruth Lee from The Town That Never Retired at Trattoria San Marco in Much Hoole
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A RETIRED grandmother who went back to work as part of a prime time television show has become a restaurant’s star waitress.

Ruth Lee, 76, agreed to go back to work as a waitress for BBC programme The Town That Never Retired, which put a group of retired people and unemployed young people to work at firms in Preston.

The two-part programme last week showed many of the participants struggling to cope with jobs including building, plastering, factory work and estate agents.

But out of all of them Ruth, from Fulwood, Preston, shone in her job at Trattoria San Marco in Liverpool Road, Much Hoole, near Preston, which offered her a job at the end of the show.

Now Ruth, a grandmother of five who retired as a secretary in a legal firm six years ago, works several shifts a week at the restaurant and is showing the younger colleagues the way.

She said: “It is the people, the whole atmosphere is congenial.

“The people that come in are so pleasant and I really enjoy the company. “It is about doing something. I don’t like sitting around, I go for long walks and I keep up my yoga, as well as helping my daughter who runs her own business as a wedding venue coordinator.”

Ruth first retired because she felt she was standing in the way of a younger worker but immediately regretted it.

Now she has taken an unconventional route back into a job via prime time television, she said she will keep working as long as possible.

She said: “At the moment I feel full of energy and I have felt that way for years.

“I am not an ailing person but if it gets too much I will just have to be honest and say I cannot do it any more.”

Giulio Bragagagnin, who is one of the owners of the family business, said: “They turned her into the star of the show.

“She was the one out of all of them that came through. She is brilliant, she is absolutely supurb, she is such good fun to work with her and she is genuinely hard working.

“We did not think we would end up employing somebody but at the same time we never said we would not take somebody of that age.”

He claimed her presence has a positive influence on other staff and she commanded their respect.