It was celebrations all round for hospital staff in South Tyneside as the NHS celebrated 70-years of existence yesterday.
Representatives from life-saving medical and support teams gathered to mark the special anniversary at a celebration at South Tyneside District Hospital.
Among those marking the occasion were part-time nurses Nancy Clark, 75, and Margaret Maughan, 71.
The pair have been working for the NHS since the ages of 15 and 17 respectively - starting their careers at the town’s former Ingham Infirmary.
Nancy, who started in 1958 was placed in the syringe bank, while Margaret began her nursing career in 1964.
At the time the wages were a lowly £275 a year.
Nancy said: “I always wanted to be a nurse. When I went for my interview at 14, a matron told me I would earn more money working in a factory. But I wanted to be a nurse.”
Margaret said: “I just love my job. It was harder back then, everything was reusable. Nowadays, everything is disposable.
“It is nice to achieve this age and to still be working for the NHS.”
The pair, who have been friends for the past 54 years, have a lot of fond memories of how the hospital was run in the day, from the matron’s on the wards, having to sterilise bandages so they could be reused as well as some of the emergencies they had to deal with over the years.
Both Nancy and Margaret were moved to the hospital in 1989 following the closure of the Ingham Wing.
Margaret added: “The Ingham Wing was very much a family friendly hospital, everybody knew everybody from the A&E department to the six wards. Everyone knew each other. It was such a great place to work and so many memories.”
Starting out on her NHS career is Nikki Lynn, 28, who has secured a job at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead as a trainee surgical assistant.
Said said: “When my mam had her legs amputated, I started to get really interested in the workings of the NHS.
“I had my children quite young and it was when I was on maternity leave with my little boy, I decided to look into it and do something about it.
“I absolutely love it. The NHS is great. We would be lost without it. I think without it, a lot of people would not be diagnosed or receive treatment.”
Meanwhile on the maternity ward, mum Immogen Ebank had given birth to the first baby born within the hospital on the 70th anniversary of the NHS, weighing 7lbs and 8.5ozs.
Little Novah Robinson was gifted with a special anniversary babygrow and bauble - created by artists Jane Charles - to mark her entrance into the world.
Mum Immogen Ebank, 28, who is also mum to four-year-old Phoenix said: “I was induced at 8am as Novah was overdue. She had been due to be born on Monday.
“It’s such a special day and the babygrow and bauble I’ll be able to put away in her baby box as nice keepsakes.
“I wasn’t expecting anything like this when she was born.”