Norwich’s singing receptionist retires from West Pottergate Health Centre

She was the receptionist who brought a smile to the faces of patients and staff at West Pottergate Health Centre. But now that Ann Moore retires who will bring a little ray of sunshine into the surgery? Derek James reports.

She is the receptionist who puts a smile on the faces of the people waiting to see the doctor – by bursting into song.

No-one sits there not speaking and with a glum look on their face when Ann Moore decides to sing them a song – she is a real and a rare tonic.

The other day the patients at the busy and popular West Pottergate Health Centre, off Earlham Road in Norwich, got their chance to thank Ann for helping to bring some sunshine into their lives.

She has decided to retire after a couple of decades at the centre and they gathered round to present her with a solid teak garden bench with a plaque which reads: 'Ann Moore – July 2011 – relax a while and sing. From all your friends and patients at West Pottergate surgery in gratitude for 21 years of dedicated service and friendship.'

She could be described as the voice of the whole team at the centre, led by Dr John McCarthy and Dr Martin Roberts, who provide such a marvellous service for the community.

'The whole atmosphere is created initially by the doctors and spreads down through all the staff.

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'Nothing is too much trouble for them,' said Sally Pearson of the Patient Liaison Committee.

As for Ann: 'She has a fantastic singing voice and she is always cheering people up by bursting into song.

'If a patient looks upset she will make them a cup of tea and if she realises it is their birthday, she will always give them a chorus of 'happy birthday,'' said Sally.

Ann herself says she has been completely overwhelmed by what has happened during her last days at the centre.

'I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone at the centre and all the patients. They have made the job so special and enjoyable,' said Ann.

And she will not be giving up for other job – teaching music at Ormiston Victory Academy, formerly Costessey High School.

'I have been lucky, doing two jobs which I love so much,' said Ann, married to Tom. 'I have been at Costessey for about 14 years. It is a lovely school with fantastic pupils,' added Ann, an accomplished pianist.

'It gives me so much pleasure to see the students putting on shows which are so professional. They are a joy to be with.'

She met Tom when they were both in the RAF stationed at Uxbridge. 'I was in the WRAF band, playing the tuba and Tom was in the RAF band.'

They moved to Norfolk and not long afterwards Ann got a job at the centre.

'There have been so many changes over the years. I have really enjoyed working there and if I have cheered some patients up by singing, then that's great. I have had a lot of fun.

'Songs from the shows always went down well,' she laughed.

On behalf of the patients I would like to thank her for bringing a little sunshine into so many lives.

A little clip of Ann in fine voice will be available online next week.