Jim hangs up his labcoat after over half a century

Jim Irvine
Jim Irvine

Little did 16-year-old Jim Irvine know that when he walked through the doors of the Stobhill Hospital labs that it was the start of a career which would last almost 52 years.

That was June 1962 and Jim, from Milton of Campsie, has now begun a well earned retirement after 51 years and 11 months service to the NHS.

Jim, who walked straight out of school on the Friday and started as a junior technician on the Monday remembers his first day as if it were yesterday.

“The worst thing was the smell. It was vile!”, he recalled. It turns out the smell was coming from a particular chemical used in the lab.

Jim has seen many changes over the years, mainly with the evolution of technology.

He explained: “When I started we were very hands on, it was like a big chemistry set, with test tubes and chemicals everywhere.

“We made up reagents, had to spin down serum and had clocks everywhere as all the tests had different testing times.

“Nowadays with all the technology and machines in the labs it’s less hands-on but of course with that comes a better quality of results, faster turnaround and a multitude of tests being carried out from the smallest of sample.”

Jim spent 47 years of his career at Stobhill where he quickly trained on the job to become laboratory technical manager before services moved to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 2011.

However, Jim is now quite happy to hang up his white coat and is looking forward to retirement.

He said: “I have plenty of interests to keep me busy and will enjoy spending more time with my family including my new grandson. Oh and I will try to conquer some of the 14 states in America I haven’t yet visited!”