Here’s Amy Bell - a former midwife here at CHFT and our first local hero for our Black History Month commemorations. So, a big thanks to colleague Stacey Bromley* for nominating her old neighbour and family friend and for sharing her amazing story.
Like many, Amy came here from the Caribbean and battled to fulfil her dream career as a nurse right here in Halifax and Huddersfield. She went on to spend 40 years in the NHS and the day she retired at HRI all the nurses laid down their cloaks as a red carpet for her as she walked out for the last time.
Amy sadly died in Jamaica in 2020 and Stacey says: “Her infectious laugh will remain with me forever.” Amy had started her nursing career at Halifax General studying for the SEN qualification but wanted to be an SRN. Stacey says: “Many obstacles were placed in her way as very few black nurses were allowed onto the course in those days. Prejudice was an everyday part of life. Matron would offer special classes for the white students, whilst sending the black students to bed. Amy would just set an early alarm and hammer those books with her two fellow black students. No matter how many classes Matron put on she had to face Amy and her friends taking the first, second and third spots in their exams.”
With a consultant’s backing she did manage to progress onto the SRN course, passed it and then went on to spend 40 years in the NHS. Stacey adds: “She became a Midwifery sister and was filled with joy with the many happy births she assisted into the world. Often patients would send cards, gifts and photos of their babies which filled many albums! She believed in hard study, hard work and due diligence but most importantly she cared with equal passion.”
*Our colleagues have been celebrating Black History Month by sharing their heroes. We thought Amy's story was amazing - and we hope you do too.