Memories shared at Canadian Red Cross hospital nurses reunion

James Hockaday

James Hockaday

Memories shared at Canadian Red Cross hospital nurses reunion

Memories of high jinks, strict matrons and a great sense of pride were fondly shared at the Canadian Red Cross Hospital nurses reunion on Saturday.

More than 40 nurses who trained and lived together came to St Peter’s Church Hall and reconnected with old friends.

The reunion was organised by Jean Blumfield and Sylvia Veevers from Maidenhead, who trained at the hospital in the late 1960s after leaving Boyne Hill School.

Sylvia, who was surprised at how large Saturday’s turnout was, said: “When we thought about doing it we thought we’d get 15 people at the most.”

She added: “The Canadian Red Cross was a great hospital. It was very big but everybody knew each other and everybody got on well. We had such great fun.”

A fond memory of most of the nurses was Christmas time during training.

The ladies vividly remember singing carols to patients in the wards and wearing their uniform red capes with pride.

The nurses had immense respect for the super-strict sisters and matrons, even if they enforced hospital bed wheels were turned at a very specific angle and  regimented bedpan toilet breaks.

Jennifer Jones, 66, from Oxford, who started training 1968 said: “The sisters were quite strict, speaking to a sister was like speaking to god.”

Despite all the rules they had the follow, the girls still managed to have their fun by sneaking around at night and pulling pranks.

“It felt a lot like being in boarding school. We got up to quite a lot of high jinks,” Jennifer added.

Sadly the much loved hospital, which at one point almost everyone from Maidenhead was born in, closed in 1985 due to funding cuts.

Many nurses had since lost touch but due to the success of Saturday’s get together, Jean and Sylvia hope to have more reunions in the future.

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