Amazing Grace – the dancing queen

She freely admits it … she’s always the first one up on the dance floor and the last one off. Amazing Grace Korley-Quaye is a bit of a dancing queen. The extremely popular self-proclaimed “party animal” has retired from the trust after almost 37 years of service to the NHS.

At almost 55 (she doesn’t look it) Grace, Team Manager of Recovery West Team – Bromley, part of the Adult Recovery and Complex Needs Mental Health directorate, has no plans to slow down.

Grace, who managed a team of 21 people from her office in Yeoman House in Croydon Road, Bromley, including psychiatrists, social workers, occupational therapists and psychologists, typically unselfishly said that eventually she’d: “like to give something back to the community by doing some voluntary work”, though she’s not sure what yet.

First though, Grace is going to spend the next couple of months flat hunting for her daughter and getting ready for her son’s wedding. In addition she has holidays to look forward to in Bath, Amsterdam, Portugal and her homeland, Ghana, in west Africa.

Grace came to the UK from Ghana’s capital, Accra, at the age of 18 and started her training as a nurse in Essex in 1974. In 1980 she started working in Bromley. She witnessed the birth of Oxleas, its change to a foundation trust and profound changes in the way society looks after mentally ill people. Grace said: “I think one of the greatest improvements is the development of comprehensive community services as an alternative to people going into hospital. Care in the community if you will.” Grace said there is presently about 450 people on her team’s books and most of these are looked after in the community.2

Community Manager, Recovery, Pauline Heslop, described Grace as a “highly valued member of staff”. She added that if anyone asked around: “I’m sure you would be able to get enough praise for her to make her blush.” This was self evident at Grace’s office, the way staff interacted with Grace, it was obvious she was extremely well regarded by colleagues.

That regard is mutual. Grace said: “I’d like to say that I have thoroughly, thoroughly, enjoyed working at Oxleas. I would like to thank all those people who have helped me in my career. It has been a pleasure working with you.”

Published on 30th June 2011