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Eileen ready for retirement after 38 years at Mensa

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Mensa’s longest-serving member of staff is preparing to say farewell to the society - an astonishing 38 years after she first started work as a temp!

Membership secretary Eileen Southan leaves Mensa on Wednesday (September 28) to start her well-deserved retirement.

“I was a temporary packer,” she said. “There was a huge load of inquiries in those days from promotions in the Readers’ Digest and The Times.

“I just seemed to work my way up from there. I moved onto marking, then membership offers, then became membership secretary. I’ve done a bit of everything really.

“I’ve gone through about four changes of computer systems!”

Eileen has also moved with Mensa to four different offices in Wolverhampton and seen the society’s 40th, 50th and 60th anniversaries. Her first day of retirement will be the day Mensa celebrates 70 years.

She is looking forward to spending more time on her hobbies, but said she would miss Mensa. “Obviously I will miss my colleagues,” she said. “I will also miss all the friends I have made amongst the members. I have met so many members who have gone on to become personal friends.”

Eileen intends to spend her retirement catching up on her hobbies, including crafting, walking and gardening with husband Trevor. Her two daughters and two grandchildren also live locally.

She said: “I want to enjoy my home and garden a bit more. I have already started the list of things that need doing for Trevor!”

Away from Mensa, Eileen is also known to lots of little girls as Brown Owl of the 4thWednesfield Brownie pack.

Mensa chairman Jenny Gill paid tribute to Eileen’s service. She said: “I first came across Eileen 16 years ago when I became an editor. 

“Eileen was our point of contact in the office, the person who received our offerings (in those days, two hard-copies sent in a pre-paid envelope!).  

“Want to know something about Mensa? Quick call to Eileen and the answer was available. We discovered that we also had something else in common: we were both Cliff Richard fans. Being of a similar age, we grew up with his music and we often shared a few moments reminiscing.

“Thirty-eight years of service to Mensa is a great achievement. On behalf of members past and present, I’d like to thank Eileen for her dedication and service to the society and wish her a very happy and enjoyable retirement. 

“I’m sure that in common with many others, in a few months’ time she will wonder how she ever had the time to retire. Have fun Eileen!”