Vera Retires

Today is the end of an era, as ‘Penny Post pioneer’, original Board member and long-time employee, Vera Kelsey is retiring, and today is her last day with us.

“Covid-19 makes you think differently, and now is the time to move on” said Vera. “I’ve missed the office banter over the last 14 months whilst working from home. Now I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life and want to go and make more memories.”

Vera was instrumental in helping set up Penny Post. Back in 1994, Penny Post founder, Graham Jones recruited Vera and Helen Nuttall to help set up a credit union as a safe, fair and ethical alternative to the significant illegal money lending prevalent in the business at the time. There were many legalities to be adhered to within Royal Mail and the wider financial sector. Vera, then part of the CWU Representatives team, remembers “I was the one who had to learn the Rule Book from cover to cover ready for the external credit union official. During one meeting he drilled us for 2 hours on the rules so that he could decide if we were capable of running a credit union.”

Vera has remained involved with Penny Post for more than 25 years. An original Board member and a Penny Post Director for many years, Vera was an OPG (Operational Postal Grade) at the Wolverhampton Mail Centre, working in the processing area on the night shift. She combined this with CWU duties and was Area Branch Secretary for some time. After retiring from Royal Mail, Vera joined Penny Post, and has been part of the team for some 12 years.

Vera is a generous supporter of local charities including The Good Shepherd and The Haven, Wolverhampton. Whenever the team go to conferences, Vera always asks everyone to collect the individual toiletries to make up packs for women who turn up at the Haven with nothing. Well known for this across the wider credit union sector, people can be seen handing Vera small packages throughout the day!

Over the years, Vera has also collected items for people setting up home with nothing. Penny Post CFO, Louise Ingleby remembers “At conference one year she was talking to Tom Owens from Dublin based Progress Systems Ltd, and he gave her the money to get a person’s gas cooker connected!”

Penny Post colleague, Helen Nuttall, has fond memories of attending ABCUL conferences in York with Vera. “Vee and me would be early birds on our last day, going to get freshly baked bread from Bettys Tea Room, to take home with us!” Helen continues “Vee also likes fashion, and during a break we both found a sale going on in a lovely boutique, and both bought the same style shoes but in different colours!”

We’ll also miss Vera for always being the life and soul of every party! “Someone else will be left standing in the bar at the ABCUL Conference now” said Penny Post CEO, Matt Goulding.

There are so many great memories of Vera’s time with Penny Post, but she will never be able to live down the day when she ‘drowned her dongle’ in a cup of tea! To make matters worse, it turned out it wasn’t ever her own, but that of former manager, Roy Cole, and was essential for authorising bank payments!

So, is Vera looking forward to a quiet retirement? Far from it! “Age is just a number” says Vera, “and I have lots planned. I’m just waiting for lockdown to ease a little more, then when the plane revs up, I’ll be on it! I want to visit Bali, go back to Vietnam and wash a baby elephant and meet my daughter in Europe and backpack around Italy, just for starters!”

Enjoy your retirement Vera, we’re going to really miss you!