AN ‘INSPIRING’ gran who has dedicated more than 50 years of her life to caring for the community has watched over the wards at South Tyneside District Hospital for the final time.
Brenda Stidolph, 67, began her career as a cadet nurse at the tender age of 15 at Harton Hospital – and continued to put others first during six decades of dedicated service.
Her working life took in spells as a district nurse in the Biddick Hall and Mile End Road areas before she made a long and happy career at the hospital.
Mrs Stidolph, of Harton, South Shields, won a fond farewell by patients and staff alike on the elderly care ward 20 of the hospital, where she has spent the last 20 years.
The medical marvel has spent 37 years tending to the needs of elderly patients and says she has “loved every minute of it.”
While she has seen a raft of changes since entering the profession in the 1960s, she says that the values of patient care have remained the same through the years.
Mrs Stidolph said: “Technological advances have meant that the role of nursing has changed so much since I started, but you just have to adapt.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about caring for patients.
“I always wanted to be a nurse and I have loved every minute of it.
“I really enjoyed elderly care in particular. The work is challenging but so rewarding.
“I feel I’m leaving a little piece of myself on Ward 20, and I’ll really miss my wonderful colleagues and friends there. I’ve worked with a lot of special people, both members of staff and the patients.”
Mrs Stidolph will take a host of happy memories and firm friendships from her many years of sterling service to the borough.
Just a few of the people whose lives she has touched were present to wish her a happy retirement and thank her for her unstinting work on the wards at a retirement party on Ward 20 on Thursday.
While she insisted she didn’t want to make a fuss about her retirement, her pals were determined to see her bow out in style.
Lee Whitfield, clinical business manager with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, was full of praise for a woman who played a key role in his own early years at the hospital.
He said: “I remember looking up to Brenda when I was a student nurse.
“I saw her kindness and compassion and thought ‘That’s the kind of nurse I want to be’.
“As well as inspiring countless nurses, there can’t be many people in South Tyneside whose lives she hasn’t touched in the last half century, either by caring for them or for someone they know and love, and her dedication over so many years deserves the utmost respect.”
Mrs Stidolph, who has two children and two grandchildren, has been married to husband Bob, also 67, for 47 years and is looking forward in retirement to spending more time with her family, including enjoying holidays with her husband.