Back in 2000, Lynne Grove laughed as a recruitment agency told her about a secretarial position at Dudley Zoo – little did she think back then she’d today be retiring from the role she loved 20 years later!
Starting work as Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive, Lynne headed the zoo’s reception team before becoming Office Manager in 2015 and has answered many a question over two decades.
Lynne said: “If I had a penny for every time I answered the phone to ‘This might sound a stupid question but…’ I’d have been able to retire a long time ago!”
Her unflappable nature and ability to deal with all manner of weird and wonderful enquiries even saw her awarded the Highly Commended in the Birmingham Post’s PA of the Year awards in 2008.
Lynne added: “The first couple of years I worked here, everyone I told about working at the zoo asked if I cleaned out the monkeys! No two days are the same, but I’ve never had to do that!”
Although she has had one memorable close encounter with animals, when a delivery of live food was delivered to her office. Unfortunately, the contents – hundreds of crickets – all escaped the package and Lynne and her colleagues were left hearing them chirp for days!
But DZC will always be a special place for Lynne, as it’s here she met now Zoo Director Derek Grove, with the couple celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary this year.
Lynne said: “I’ve seen many changes at the zoo over two decades and have had so many highlights, including gaining a husband!
“It’s been a such a pleasure to work here and I’ll miss the people but I’ll enjoy coming back as a visitor in the future.”
Zoo Manager, Matt Lewis, said: “With 20 years’ experience, Lynne knows the business inside out and takes everything in her stride.
“She’ll be much missed and we wish her well in her retirement, but we’ve already told her we’ll get her back, decked out in her hi-vis jacket, for car park duty during our busy periods!”