Thirteen friends who all began their nursing training together in 1969 at the former Oldchurch Hospital in Romford were reunited today (Friday 8 February).
Two of them, Margo McFarlane and Diane Webber (pictured above l-r), are still nurses at our Trust 50 years on!
The first reunion in decades was organised by Diane, alongside Jenny Andrews, who also worked at our Trust for six years after completing her training before moving out of the area.
They gathered together for a celebratory lunch at the Marygreen Manor Hotel in Brentwood, where they caught up on each other’s lives and reminisced over old pictures from their early careers. Pictured below is the whole group.
And here they are with other colleagues when they first started out in 1969.
On why she’s stayed in nursing for five decades, Diane, 68, of Petits Lane, Romford, said: “I love caring for people. I also love the staff, that’s why I’ve stayed at the same Trust for so long. It’s our job to support each other.
“I always wanted to be a nurse. A lot has changed over the years, especially the equipment, but continuing to learn new things is good for the brain.”
Diane (pictured left at Oldchurch Hospital), who has two sons and a grandson Jack, four, is also hugely proud that youngest son Simon, 32, has followed her into nursing and, after training at the same Trust, is now a matron at Southend Hospital.
Margo, who celebrated her 70th birthday the day before the reunion, added: “I always wanted to be a nurse too, I liked the uniform! It’s been a great job. It’s very different now, it’s busier and the patients are more acutely ill, however the essence of nursing, caring for people and putting our patients first, hasn’t changed.
“It’s been amazing catching up – I haven’t seen some of them in years and didn’t even recognise them!”
Margo, has a son and a daughter and three grandchildren, she lives in Brentwood Road, Romford.