MORE than 23 years ago Irene McMillan walked into REACT Engineering’s offices to start working six hours a day as an administrator on reception.

This week she retires having been an outstanding ambassador for the Cleator Moor company and part of the fabric of the business and the community.

Managing director Phil Redfern said: “Irene embodies everything that REACT stands for - she is positive, proactive, really cares about what she does, and makes a massive positive difference.

“Irene is the first contact everyone who has worked for REACT over the years has had with the company, including me, and she has always been professional and caring and helps set the tone of what REACT is about.

“Everyone past and present wishes Irene a long and very happy retirement.”

Irene, 62, from Dalry, Ayrshire, moved to Whitehaven in 1987 when her husband Gus took a job with the then UKAEA Constabulary, later to become the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC).

With a growing family, children Kati and Steve, in 1997 Irene was looking for a part-time job.

She saw an advertisement for a receptionist/administrator at REACT which at the time was only three years old having been set up by Pete Woolaghan, Trevor Craig and Steve Knight.

Having got the job, the role naturally grew into marketing and recruitment and Irene quickly built up strong relationships in the community as well as within the business.

Irene said: “I have loved my time at REACT. It has been a great company to work for and wonderful to see it grow into the very successful business it is today while still retaining that family feel.

“It’s the variety of the work I have enjoyed so much.

"Working with the kids and the schools has been very rewarding.

“All the primary schools and secondary schools in West Cumbria are fabulous and when you see the kids get so excited about some of the programmes and activities we do it is great.”

“In the meantime it will have to be cocktails on the deckchair in the garden!” she said.