Nurses celebrate 50 year anniversary at Spire Leeds Hospital

January 2014

Nurses who trained at Roundhay Hall had an emotional reunion at Spire Leeds Hospital on 29 January – exactly 50 years to the day they first met.

On a cold winter’s day in 1964, a group of girls joined up for rigorous training at a time when strict rules and starched uniforms were the order of the day.

Trainee nurses at Roundhay Hall in 1964 Trainee nurses at Roundhay Hall in 1964

Back in the 60s, Roundhay Hall was the Preliminary Training School (PTS) and the trainee nurses stayed there for three months before completing the rest of their State Registered Nurse training at The General Infirmary at Leeds

At the reunion organised in celebration of their 50th anniversary,  the 14 nurses enjoyed a three course meal in the same building where they shared their first meal together. As they ate, they reminisced about their time together all those years ago.

Nadine Donaldson, of Keighley, went into district nursing for 20 years after training, before working as a Macmillan nurse. She recalled: “There were about 40 of us in a set - you went on night duty together, had blocks of school together. For four years you did everything together.”

Joan Barraclough, who now lives in Burton-on-Trent, went on to work in outpatients’ ENT at Wakefield and nights at LGI. She recalled: “It was strict. You had a list of what you could wear. The hats had to be 11 inches across - and they used to measure them. My parents never visited Roundhay Hall. But if they could, only your mother was allowed in the bedroom. No fathers. Males were banned. It’s just how life was then.”

She added: “It’s fascinating even after all these years you can start talking to people as you did when you were 18. The years just melt away.”

Ann Sharpe, of Outwood, Wakefield, one of the reunion organisers, said: “We had to be in at 10pm every night, so you can imagine by the time we caught the bus from Leeds and walked up, it was a very early night out, unless your boyfriend had a car. We got to know each other very quickly. Of course there were no mobile phones, and just a phone in the hall, so if a boyfriend said he would call you, someone had to be nearby to get the call, then find the nurse he was calling.”

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