Romford nurses reunited 50 years after they started training together
PUBLISHED: 15:00 11 February 2019
A group of nurses who all started their training at Oldchurch Hospital in Romford 50 years ago were reunited last week for the first time in decades.
The 13 friends who all began their nursing training together in 1969 met up 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.
Two of them, Margo McFarlane and Diane Webber, are still nurses at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust 50 years on.
The first reunion in decades was organised by Diane, alongside Jenny Andrews, who also worked at the trust for six years after completing her training before moving out of the area.
The friends all first met at the hospital that stood in Oldchurch Road, and was a union workhouse before becoming a hospital in 1929.
The hospital closed in 2006, with the last patient being seen on December 15 and services were transferred to the nearby newly built Queen’s Hospital and to the King George Hospital in Chadwell Heath.
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, 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, from Brentwood Road, celebrated her 70th birthday the day before the reunion and 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!”