The Caterer

Philip Matthews – March 2007 Star of the Month

19 March 2007
Philip Matthews – March 2007 Star of the Month

Caterer and Hotelkeeper‘s first-ever Star of the Month is Philip Matthews, a cleaner at the Hallowes Golf Club in Dronfield, near Sheffield.

At 74, Philip has just come through two years of battling cancer. Despite this, he never missed a day's work and remained cheerful throughout. As a former joiner, he frequently stays after work to help with odd jobs, mending tables and chairs and searching for lost golf equipment. After work he returns home to look after his blind and severely disabled daughter, doing the daily shopping and cooking and taking her out every night. He talks to Emily Manson

How does it feel to win Caterer's first Star of the Month award?

I didn't know I was nominated, but my first reaction was that I don't see myself as exceptional at all. But I'm very pleased with the award and very grateful to John [Whomersley] for nominating me, although I still can't work out what I did that was out of the ordinary.

The prize is £500 - what will you do with the money?

I will have to consult the wife, as she's the boss. However, if she agrees, I would like to spend it on a little get-together with all the staff here before my wife and I move to Wiltshire.

You've just come through two years of chemotherapy. How did that affect you?

I have non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and there's no cure, but I'm doing OK now and continuing to work. I was ill at first and struggled to come back, but at the moment I feel on form most of the time and just want to get on with life. I feel quite good most days, but am not quite as energetic as I used to be.

Your work ethic is obviously very strong - where do you get that from?

From my parents. We were never allowed to have time off work unless we were really ill, and I've continued with that ethos throughout my life. It's probably a generational thing, although my son is the same, and carries on regardless.

What do you like most about your job?

The people I work with, from John and Wendy, the catering managers, to Sylvia, my boss, and all the staff. They're all very friendly and considerate and have been very kind to me with my recent illness.

You're 74. Do you have any plans to retire?

I will retire when we move to Wiltshire in a few months' time, but I will miss Hallowes and the area as I've lived here for the last 45 years.

And finally, to your nominator, John Whomersley: why did you nominate Phil for the Star of the Month?

When you consider he's 74 years old, this is remarkable enough in itself but when one appreciates his personal circumstances, his service for the club is nothing short of outstanding. He's just a remarkable man - nothing fazes him or gets him down, and he's very inspirational to all the staff. He's always happy and cheerful and is just a really lovely guy.

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