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Dales Nurses lifetime of care

[Thursday 06 July 2006]

TWO devoted nurses from a Yorkshire Dales hospital have retired after dedicating more than 80 years to the NHS between them.

Friarage says goodbye to nurses
Photo: South Tees NHS Hospitals Trust

Doreen Eaton and Chris Wilson started their careers more than 40 years ago and both will end their careers attending patients at Northallerton's Friarage Hospital.

Doreen arrived as a cadet nurse at the Friarage in January 1956, two months before her 16th birthday. After completing her cadet training in 1958, proud in her blazer with blue piping and complete with the Friarage training school for nursing badge, she began her general nursing training.

She qualified as a state registered nurse in 1961 and started work in the outpatients and accident and emergency departments.

In 1964, she was made sister and stayed until 1971 when she left to have her first child, Victoria, and 17 months later came the twins Christopher and Quentin. Once the children went to school, Doreen began thinking of coming back into nursing.

After working part time, Doreen returned to the hospital as a staff nurse in the outpatients department in 1971. Doreen worked there until her 65th birthday but, as her husband remarked, "hung on like a limpet" and was given a one-year's contract of 14 hours per week and proceeded to work, at times more hours.

Chris Wilson started her training in December 1965 at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle upon Tyne, and qualified with distinction.

After completing her midwifery training at Parkside Maternity Hospital in Middlesbrough she returned to general surgery as senior sister at Hemlington Hospital, working with the eminent surgeon Frank Walker, where they set up one of the first stoma care clinics.

I have many happy memories of my 32 years in nursing, 22 of which were working at the Friarage with so many wonderful colleagues

Chris Wilson - Friarage Nurse

She left in 1975 to start a family and had two sons, returning to nursing when they started school. Initially she worked in the intensive care unit at the Friarage and after a short spell in orthopaedics, Chris was asked to join the gynaecology ward, due to her midwifery experience. She worked there as senior staff nurse until 1997 and after becoming sister, Chris worked in the outpatients department until 2006, when she retired due to ill health.

Chris said: "I have many happy memories of my 32 years in nursing, 22 of which were working at the Friarage with so many wonderful colleagues who had given me such great support.

"I will miss the camaraderie and staff of the outpatients department but I am looking forward to travelling and doing some family history research."

Hospital manager, John Gibb, said: "Both Doreen and Chris are a fantastic example of what nursing is all about and they will be sorely missed by all their colleagues, friends and the many patients they have cared for at the Friarage.

"Their devotion to nursing and their lifetime of nursing skills and experience will be sadly missed by the trust and everyone joins me in wishing them the very best for the future and a well deserved happy retirement."

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