The post became vacant in March when Ena Sharples left Weatherfield for an extended stay with her friend Henry Foster in Lytham St Annes. In her interview, widow woman Gertie made a positive impression, winning over three members of the five-person panel. By the end, it came down to Gertie and, of all people, Stan and Hilda Ogden, who were the favourites of Mr Rogers and Vera Hopkins. Knowing the Ogdens would be terrible caretakers, Alf Roberts, Emily Bishop and Ernest Bishop campaigned for Gertie and talked their colleagues round by bringing up Gertie's need for accommodation as her home in Sankey Street was due to be demolished.
Gertie was an unknown in Coronation Street and had big shoes to fill when she moved into the Community Centre flat, but she got on Annie Walker's good side when she helped out a short-handed Billy at the Rovers, and flattered Annie by attributing Billy's good character to a proper upbringing and praised the standard of service at the boozer. Annie immediately suggested that, should she be unsuccessful at the centre, she should apply for a position at the Rovers. When it seemed doubtful that Betty Turpin would return to the Rovers after the death of her husband Cyril, Annie took on Gertie on a trial basis as a means of encouraging Betty to come back. Albert Tatlock too found Gertie an agreeable boss in his position of assistant caretaker, despite being inclined to dislike her. However, she had a clash with Hilda Ogden when she sent up Stan and Clara Regan.
In May, Gertie's seventeen-year old nephew Gary Turner - her sister's son - arrived to stay for a while. Gertie had played a big part in Gary's upbringing as his mother had had to go out to work due to his father Eric's bronchitis. Having reached school leaving age, Gary had fallen out with his parents as he'd decided to turn down a footballing contract with Rovers to pursue his ambition of becoming a chef. Gertie didn't want to get involved but when Bob Maskell of Rovers sweetened the deal (at Eric's suggestion) by offering to pay Gertie a regular wage to look after Gary, Gertie advised Gary not to accept for her sake. Gary ultimately decided to follow his original plan of getting a degree before deciding his career path.
In July, Annie took Gertie on as housekeeper at the Rovers, at Gertie's own suggestion, leaving her post at the centre. Before she got started, Annie's friend Freda Barry poached Gertie as live-in housekeeper at her pub, The Flying Horse - an arrangement which Annie was furious to learn about from Freda.