AN ARBROATH therapist has called time on a long and fascinating career.
Ben Philips, who turns 67 tomorrow, retired from his post as an occupational therapist with Angus Council Social work department last week.
A party, which took place at Seaton Grove, was attended by many of his colleagues, both inside and outside the department.
He has spent the last 10 years, since the very inception of the integrated social work teams, working with the council and adults suffering from dementia and other mental health related issues.
This however has not always been the case, and Ben has led a colourful working life.
Born and raised in the Rhondda Valley in Wales, Ben enlisted in the army at the age of 16 as a ‘boy soldier’ training as a medic, and later part of the Operating Theatre team with 23 Parachute Field Ambulance of the Royal Army Medical Corps.
Stationed at Aldershot barracks, the unit formed part of 3 PARA as it was then, and during the nine years of his service, the unit travelled the world with the airborne forces.
Upon leaving the Army in 1969, Ben entered the antiquities business in London, and worked in this role for seven years before changing career again.
This time, he took up a post as an operations manager with a container leasing company, and enjoyed more travel, working and living abroad in diverse places like Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
Ben said of his return to Arbroath: “This is where my partner is from, and I’ve always enjoyed living here, so it was not a difficult move for me.”
In 1994 Ben graduated from Robert Gordon’s University, the eldest in his class at 50, with a degree in occupational therapy.
He funded his degree by working at Ashludie Hospital, and, upon graduation, took a job at Sunnyside Royal Hospital outside Montrose.
A decade ago, Angus Council decided to integrate its adult social work teams, and it was at this point that Ben took up the post that he will now relinquish.
He said: “Angus was the first county to fully integrate their mental health service teams. We still get other areas calling us up and asking how we do it so well.
“I wasn’t happy with other avenues of therapy. I wanted something more grounded in people, I wanted mental health, and in particular I always wanted adult mental health.”
Ben referred to his colleagues as a “really great bunch”, but now he is looking forward to a very well deserved retirement.