Celebrations at South Tyneside District Hospital as the NHS marks 70-year anniversary

Chairman of South Tyneside District Hospital trust Neil Mundy has a helping hand to cut the 70 year's birthday cake for the NHS by Nancy Clark (left) and Margaret Maughan Picture by FRANK REID
Chairman of South Tyneside District Hospital trust Neil Mundy has a helping hand to cut the 70 year's birthday cake for the NHS by Nancy Clark (left) and Margaret Maughan Picture by FRANK REID

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.

Nancy Clark with a photograph of herself just after she qualified as a Nurse. Picture by FRANK REID

Nancy Clark with a photograph of herself just after she qualified as a Nurse. Picture by FRANK REID

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.

South Tyneside District Hospital catering staff (left to right) Lynsi Bell, Yvonne Henry, Margaret Normandale, Sharon Thompson, Kathleen Ewing and Georgia Thompson dressed in 1940's clothing to mart the 70th birthday of the NHS. Picture by FRANK REID

South Tyneside District Hospital catering staff (left to right) Lynsi Bell, Yvonne Henry, Margaret Normandale, Sharon Thompson, Kathleen Ewing and Georgia Thompson dressed in 1940's clothing to mart the 70th birthday of the NHS. Picture by FRANK REID

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.

Margaret Maughan with a photograph herself 2 years after she qualified as a Enrolled Nurse. Picture by FRANK REID

Margaret Maughan with a photograph herself 2 years after she qualified as a Enrolled Nurse. Picture by FRANK REID

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.

Newly qualified Practitioner at South Tyneside District Hospital Nikki Lynn. Picture by FRANK REID

Newly qualified Practitioner at South Tyneside District Hospital Nikki Lynn. Picture by FRANK REID

“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.

Immogen Ebank (23) with her 3 hr old daughter Novah Robinson who was born at South Tyneside District Hospital. Picture by FRANK REID

Immogen Ebank (23) with her 3 hr old daughter Novah Robinson who was born at South Tyneside District Hospital. Picture by FRANK REID

“I wasn’t expecting anything like this when she was born.”