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Leona Ferguson (pictured) said a fond farewell to colleagues on Tuesday (7 March) as she closed the door on a 45-year career with the council and opened another to a well-earned retirement.

Having joined the council in 1978 as a trainee Technical Assistant in what is now the Building Maintenance Division, Leona was one of only two women to study Building Construction at the local college as part of her traineeship.

"I lived in Bo'ness at the time and the job was in Denny Town House. I’d never been to Denny in my life and had to ask the bus driver how to get there. When I joined, I was one of the youngest to work for the council aged just 18 and as I leave, I am one of the oldest!"

Working her way up the career ladder, the 63-year-old mother-of-two became Building Maintenance Manager before taking on her ultimate role as Facilities Manager (Catering & Cleaning) 15 years ago.

Notching up 45 years working for one company is no mean feat, what’s kept her at the council?

“The people. I have worked with very good teams, both in Building Maintenance and Catering & Cleaning. I couldn’t fault anyone I’ve worked with and that is what makes work enjoyable and easy.”

The secret to her long career, she says, is good old-fashioned honesty and teamwork.

“You have to be honest and upfront and do the best you can for folks. If you have a task, you do it to the best of your abilities. We have over 700 posts in Catering & Cleaning and only 10 of us organising it. To do all that we do, we have to be honest with each other and work as a team. Everyone in the service gets the job done seamlessly and nobody comes in and complains.”

leona ferguson with chief executive kenneth lawrie and director of children's services

Leona (centre) with colleagues including (back left to right), Chief Executive Kenneth Lawrie, Director of Children's Services Robert Naylor and Head of Planning & Resources Gary Greenhorn.

With the bulk of Catering & Cleaning staff working in schools, they provide an essential service each day, but no more so than during the pandemic when they ensured thousands of children didn’t go hungry.

“We did a lot through COVID, producing grab bags for kids who are entitled to free school meals. By doing that, we knew they were still being fed. You've no idea the amount of deprivation that is out there. These kids rely on their school meals, and we make sure they’re being fed nutritious food five days a week, otherwise many of them would have nothing.”

So, what next? Knitting, sewing, learning calligraphy, doing up her garden in Shieldhill, travelling the world with friends and welcoming her second grandchild in July!

“My daughter is having her first child in July. It will be lovely to spend time with her and the baby as well as more time with my other grandchild. I’m also going to go on lots of holidays with my friends. I am no cook, which people find surprising, but I am an excellent knitter and I sew, so I’ll be doing a lot of that, and teaching myself crochet and other arty things.

“I am looking forward to my retirement; to just having time to do the things I love. It’s time now to leave. I am 63 and I want to have a life and enjoy myself. I don’t want to get to a situation where I keep working and have a short retirement. I’ve put the years in, and I’ve worked hard. Now it’s time to really enjoy myself.”

Leona’s recipe for a successful 45-year career

Looking for a long and fulfilling career in local government? Then follow Leona's recipe.


  • One cup honesty
  • ¾ cup trust
  • ¾ cup teamwork
  • ½ cup doing the right thing
  • A pinch of salt


Mix all the ingredients together in an office, spread evenly across the team and colleagues in various locations, and leave to bake for 45 years!


An outstanding Catering & Cleaning Team that feeds thousands of children and hundreds of office workers healthy and nutritious food in buildings that are cleaned to the highest standards.