Today is International Women’s Day – a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
So what better day to say thank you to Highland RFCA Facilities Manager Jackie Ireland who this week celebrated an impressive 40 years working with the Association.
Jackie said: “I started in 1979 when we were known as the Territorial Auxiliary & Volunteer Reserve Association (TAVRA). In that time I’ve worked with six Chief Executives – originally they were called ‘Secretary’.
“I’ve seen many changes over the years mainly, of course, with the staff. There have been so many that I honestly can’t remember all of them!”
We asked Jackie what her most memorable moment of the last 40 years at HRFCA is.
She said: “It has to be the fire in the front office which started from the stamping machine which had been left plugged in. The whole of the downstairs was smoke damaged and had to be redecorated. Upstairs there was a flat for the Deputy Secretary and his wife, who had to get a fireman’s lift out the window. Staff had to change offices whilst the redecoration happened. The Estates department – known then as the Works Office – was accommodated in No.1 Married Quarter.”
With four decades under her belt we wondered what Jackie saw as her greatest achievement.
She said: “After 40 years, it has to be making it this far. When I first started as a typist in the Front Office I was informed that the position might not be for very long as they were looking at closing the offices down. I nearly didn’t take the job!”
Finally, we asked what funny moments stuck out?
She said: “One thing that sticks in my mind was when one of the past Secretaries thought it would be funny to put a closed sign on the downstairs ladies WC. It was April Fool’s Day and at that time this was the only toilet for the ladies as the upstairs was the Deputy Secretary’s flat. All the girls spent the whole morning with crossed legs, which only he found extremely amusing.”
Chief Executive Brigadier Mark Dodson paid tribute to Jackie.
He said: “It is very humbling to consider that Jackie has worked for us for all her working life. 40 years is a massive shift to put in and we are enormously grateful for her commitment and contribution to the Association, and the benefit this has had on the reserve and cadet forces we support. This is a major milestone and Jackie fully deserves our thanks and appreciation.”
• Jackie’s story was taken to an even wider audience when she was interviewed by BFBS Scotland on 21 March.
• The first International Women’s Day occurred in 1911, supported by over one million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organisation specific.