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They met so long ago they were in black and white! Nurses' amazing reunion 45 years on.

Eight nurses who started their careers together on the very same day in 1974 have reunited - 45 years to the exact day they started training.

And to celebrate they recreated their very first day together in exactly the same line-up as the days of black and white. (top photo). Comms just love it.

Their reunion was at Halifax West End Golf Club, where they shared afternoon tea with Prosecco and nearly half a century of memories of their early days as trainees in a "big house in Birkby" and their lives now.

Three are still working nurses: Gillian Smith in Wakefield in Pre-assessment, Valerie Firth in OPD at HRI and Judith Abernethy on Bank shifts in Endoscopy at CRH.

Back rows - L to R Anastasia Chapman, Julie Simms, Judith Hall, Linda Mallinson
Front rows - L to R Gillian Peace, Valerie Hickson, Anne Kippax, Margaret Miller

They recall:

* all consultants were scary and didn't speak to student nurses. 

* Sunday afternoons cleaning trolley wheels in the sluice (now known as dirty utility room) and scrubbing bedpans. 

* bowel books, bedpan rounds and bed baths, 

* thermometers were mercury and went under the tongue and BP’s were taken with sphygmomanometers and a stethoscope.

* On HRI ward 16, sitting in the kitchen eating toast and watching the sun come up over Huddersfield 

* We all smuggled boys in, I remember one jumping out of the window and spraining his ankle! 

* Even dads couldn’t go into Ellerslie!

* Going on the roof of Ellerslie to drink cider and smoke all 3 not allowed! 

Here’s a combined effort from them as a summary of their special night of shared memories. It's a lovely read and all in their own words too.


“What an amazing group of women we are. At 16 and 17 we were chucked together in an old house in Huddersfield, we shared a room with complete strangers.

“We laid patients out before we were (legally) allowed to buy a drink in a pub. We did injections, worked nights and went on secondment to the middle of nowhere.

“We didn’t complain (much) we just got on with whatever was thrown at us and then we carried on to complete general training.

“Following that, between us, we notched up qualifications and experience whilst bringing up families and running a home. The things we have done filled 2 A4 pieces of paper. (see attached)

“No-one can say it has been easy. Some of us have battled with serious medical issues, divorce, bereavements, moving home and children moving to the other side of the world. But through all that we carried on nursing. Ladies we are women of bravery, strength and courage.

“We are really bad at saying well done to people who have given their careers to making other people’s lives better  - sometimes at the expense of their own free time staying late and missing family events and weddings parties and sometimes at the cost of their own physical and emotional health.

"So we just wanted to say that and to acknowledge the 300 years we have nursed.”