Mary and John trade bank for camp­sites

New Ross Standard - - EDUCATION AND COURSES -

TWO New Ross re­tired bankers have traded the till for the tent hav­ing joined a grow­ing num­ber of re­tired cou­ples opt­ing to spend the sum­mer work­ing on camp­sites abroad.

John (62) and Mary (59) Keenan swapped their ca­reers for jobs as ma­ture couri­ers on a camp­site in France af­ter a health scare forced the cou­ple to take stock of their lives.

The Wex­ford duo are now work­ing for Ir­ish-owned com­pany KelAir at its new camp­site in Camp­ing Sol a GoGo in St Jean de Monts in the Vendée re­gion.

Mary took early re­tire­ment from her job in AIB in 2012 when she was di­ag­nosed with a brain tu­mour. John then took a re­dun­dancy pack­age from his job as an AIB man­ager a year later.

‘When Mary got the brain tu­mour, it re­ally was a wake-up call. We’re all mor­tal. None of us know how long we have in this life so there’s no point in hav­ing re­grets,” he said.

Mary added: ‘ When I un­der­went the suc­cess­ful surgery to re­move the brain tu­mour, I knew there was more to do in life. We spent our sum­mers with our two boys when they were young on camp­sites and loved it, so we knew work­ing on one was some­thing we wanted to do. ‘Just be­cause you fin­ish a ca­reer af­ter 40 years doesn’t mean you’re washed up. Our boys had flown the nest, we’d paid our mort­gage and didn’t want to be free, easy and idle. We wanted to go on tak­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and ven­ture on a dif­fer­ent life­style.’

The cou­ple moved on to the French site five months ago, with their dog Ziggy, and say the job has ex­ceeded all their ex­pec­ta­tions. In ad­di­tion to clean­ing and main­tain­ing each mo­bile home, the cou­ple are on hand to rec­om­mend places to eat and see in ad­di­tion to solv­ing prob­lems. ‘We’ve taken par­ents and their sick child to the doc­tor and driven a trans­port-less res­i­dent to and from the lo­cal su­per­mar­ket to do her shop­ping,’ said Mary. ‘I’d def­i­nitely rec­om­mend it to any ma­ture cou­ples. It’s a very ful­fill­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,’ said John.

Pearse Keller of Gal­way-based KelAir said the ma­jor­ity of work­ers were ma­ture cou­ples. ‘We find ma­ture cou­ples have more life-ex­pe­ri­ences which can be valu­able when deal­ing with peo­ple and han­dling prob­lems,’ he said.

Mary and John Keenan.

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