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Field's Christy calls time after half a century of service

February 17th, 2024 11:15 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Field's Christy calls time after half a century of service Image
Christy Dempsey with John and Ruth Field and Adam Walsh. (Photo: Anne Minihane)

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FOR 52 years, Christy Dempsey has demonstrated an incredible work ethic at Field’s SuperValu in Skibbereen.

It was something that John Field and his family acknowledged in a recent tribute in The Southern Star.

The tribute was just one of the ways that Christy’s retirement on January 31st was marked. The occasion gave many people – who have long admired his approach to work – an opportunity to have their say.

‘With Christy, business came first, as if it were his own,’ one local businessman said. ‘He was exceptional. You wouldn’t find too many like him.

‘Christy came to Field’s as a young lad of 18 and he gave great service. He was a great worker. The customers liked him. And he is as honest as the day is long.’

John Field effectively headhunted Christy because his approach to work was evident even then. The young shop worker only took up his new role in Skibbereen in January 1972, after seeing Atkins’ shop in Dunmanway through the Christmas rush.

It was the beginning of a five-decade career that Christy enjoyed for all of its challenges and diversity.

He said John Field always had ‘a fantastic vision for the future’.

The premise of that success was based on taking pride in good bread and good produce. The growth of the supermarket, over the years, is an expansion of that, said Christy, who throughout his career enjoyed the mutual respect of John Field, and his family, and indeed all of the staff, including Adam Walsh and Richard Gough.

The Drinagh man, who recently turned 70, said he chose the retail profession because he enjoys meeting people.

Field’s has always attracted interesting customers from all over the world, but Christy is talking about the great staff and the local customers too. Christy’s wife Helen – a former nurse who owns and runs Abbey Furniture – shares his phenomenal work ethic.

Steady and level-headed are just two of the tributes Christy paid to his wife.

‘Her opinion is always valued in anything,’ he added with a smile.

Aside from her business interests, Helen also works tirelessly with the Chamber of Commerce, St Vincent de Paul and various church organisations.

It should come as no surprise that this couple have inspired a similar work ethic in their three children: Barry, who is an integral part of the team at Field’s, Elaine who is the manager of The Maritime Hotel in Bantry, and Ronan, who manages SuperValu in Bantry.

Christy expresses his pride in their achievements saying: ‘They are all well able.’

Speaking as someone for whom a 12-hour day was standard, Christy said he will have no trouble filling his time. ‘I’ve got plenty to do,’ he said. ‘I am going to travel a lot. I will be doing lots of dancing and cycling’ – two of his main interests in life.

‘And I have a lot of garden work to do,’ added Christy, who also let it slip that he is looking forward to maintenance projects – not just his, but jobs for his extended family too.

Christy could have retired years ago, but didn’t because he was ‘fit and able to stay at it’.

Despite still having a good routine, Christy said he is not as fit as he used to be. The only concern he seems to have in facing retirement is that he has a very sweet tooth.

With a wide smile, he said: ‘It’s very important that I control my diet.’

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