Journal 2015

This is the first time we have published content extracted from the Journal on the website. We hope you find it interesting.

2014 REUNION – Content published in Journal 2015




Carolyn Rankine President
Pat Shillington Vice President and Web Site Editor
Moira K. Sargent Honorary Secretary
Mary Newton Journal Editor
Susie Overill Assistant Web Editor
Val Thornes Archivist
Jane Kemp
Sue Butterworth

The president welcomed everyone to this 81st Annual Reunion of the Nurses’ League.

A presentation ‘Cancer, then, now and the future’, was given by Gill Hamblin
Gill was Lead Cancer Nurse at the Royal Liverpool Hospital until March 2014. She now works for the North West Coast Academic Health Science Network.

Apologies and Greetings received

Jean Arley Daphne Cunningham
Hazel Dron nee Caldecott Margaret Dawson nee Burrows
Margaret Jones nee Davies Ann Bunting nee Cobham
Elspeth Yule Rosemary Hewedine nee Smith
Gwen Cuff nee Hughes Pat Croston nee Andrews
Pauline Price nee Bosman Brenda Hankin nee Corcoran
Judith Hawkins nee Goulden Lesley Payne nee Gurney
Rosaline Shannon Ann Hanning nee Rigby
Ruth Halsall Jeannie Edwards nee Taylor
Florence Blundell nee Bardin Jean Grant nee Sinker
Margaret Bentley nee Standish Ann Connell


Since the journal was published, sadly, the committee has been informed that several of our members have passed away.

Mrs Enid Hughes nee Williams 1950
Mrs Sheila Gardler nee Winnard 1955
Mrs Doris Turner nee Christopher 1938
Mrs Vera Young nee Archer 1961
Mrs Jessie Collinge nee Firth 1942
Miss Pamela Cundle 1947
Glenys Mair Griffith nee Jones 1958
Miss Barbara Freeman 1945
And her sister in law
Yvonne Freeman nee Bibby
Mrs Margret Wade nee Evans 1958
I sincerely apologise to Sarah Wade for not mentioning, at the Reunion, that her mother has passed away. Margaret trained at the Royal and then completed her midwifery training before immigrating to Australia in the sixties. Sarah, who was in the UK to take her mother’s ashes to be interned in Wales, requested to see where her mother had trained and was present at ourReunion.

And finally
Mrs Vallender nee Hillidge 1933 who was our oldest member and died at the age of 101. Millie had been in a nursing home for a few years but enjoyed receiving her journal which was read to her by her niece. Millie, was very proud of her training school and often like to reminisce.
May we now take a moment to remember them in our thoughts and prayers?
Welcome to the 81st Annual Reunion of the Nurses’ League. We are privileged to meet here in the chapel of the old Liverpool Royal infirmary where we can share so many memories of our Training School.
A warm welcome is extended to those groups who are celebrating special anniversaries, 1949, 1954, 1959, 1964 & 1969, and also to those who have not joined us before. I am sure you will share an afternoon of laughter and friendship as the years fall away and you remember your time together in this wonderful old hospital building.
I am pleased to say that this year we have been asked as a League to support events at Liverpool University and at the Liverpool Medical Institution. Because of our links with the School of Nursing, we were invited to have a stall at a student conference involving the whole of Merseyside Region entitled ‘Reflecting on the Past, Shaping the Future.’ Thanks to Pat Shillington, we were able to display some of our wonderful old photographs of life through the years at LRI which generated a lot of interest from young and old alike. We also managed to sell some more of our commemorative booklets of nurse training in Liverpool.
Mary Newton and I have also given a presentation recently to the latest intake of 50 students at the University, reflecting on 50 years of Nursing. We described our nurse training in comparison with that of today, and realised that our codes of practice are not dissimilar. We were taught the ethics of nursing from the start at PTS by our sister tutors, today they are written in the NMC code of conduct. At the heart of both is the wellbeing of the patient, but today there is more emphasis on accountability for one’s actions, we were taught to take ownership of our actions. ‘The success of a nurse depends largely upon herself, her initiative, training, and willingness to do all or more than is expected of her.’
Liverpool Medical Institution held a really interesting 3 day event entitled ‘Then & Now Military Medicine’ to commemorate the start of World War1, which we were asked to support. As well as some topical lectures on aspects of WW1, 208 Field Hospital set up a trench and a dressing station in the car park and demonstrated how things had changed from ‘Blighty to Bastion.’ I hope that some of you who live locally saw the poster and subsequent comments on our website and were able to attend.
Becci and Abbie, who were our speakers last year, finished their booklet linking the HIV services in Liverpool between the acute sector and the community. It has been well received by patients and staff, and they created a poster to tell the story of their journey from winning the Travel Award, to going to India and then working with their colleagues to produce the booklet. It was accepted at the National Nurses HIV Conference, and the girls also won an award at the Trust’s ‘Making a Difference’ awards evening at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. They are proud of their achievement and I am delighted that the Nurses’ League played a part in their success by supporting them with the Travel Award. Our current winner is in Australia and we look forward to hearing about her experiences on her return at the end of this year.
Once again, huge thanks go to Dot Williams for organising another successful lunch in Port Merion. The weather was kind to us and the setting perfect for meeting old friends and sharing memories. The date has been set for next year already, to maintain this enjoyable tradition.
Mary and I were invited to the Royal Southern and David Lewis Northern Nurses’ Reunion at the Adelphi in September. Margaret Park made us very welcome and we realised that there were a number of nurses there who had started their training at LRI and then completed at one of the two other hospitals. On talking to them, their allegiance was to the hospital that they staffed in on completion of training, and that is where we will find it difficult to recruit them to our League. However, we would like to hold a future event where we could get everyone together from all of the United Liverpool Hospitals, and maybe the opening of the new Royal Liverpool Hospital will be the opportunity.
The construction of the new hospital is now underway, and the planning team will shortly celebrate 1000 days until it is completed in 2017. Within the hospital there will be 17 wards with 28 beds, and separate wards for haematology, infectious diseases, and critical care. The new emergency department will have 82 single rooms on the lower levels.
Now down to the League issues which the committee has addressed since the last Annual Meeting. The Constitution has been amended slightly and appears within the 2014 Journal with the changes included. The main change was suggested as a result of our questionnaire, that reports from the officers will be included in the Journal and not given at the Annual Meeting.
I trust you have all had a chance to read the Constitution. I would like to ask for a show of hands to accept the Constitution in its amended form.
Amendments— accepted by the attending membership
We have also looked at the issue of data protection and storage of members details. As a ‘not for profit’ organisation, we are bound by certain clauses of the Data Protection Act, and these appear in the Secretary’s report in the Journal. We should only keep information while the individual is a member or as long as necessary for member administration, hence we will no longer keep paper records of members details, they are all on a computer database which is password and firewall protected and will be updated as necessary by the membership secretary. If a member wishes to make contact with another there is a contact facility in the membership section of the website. Alternatively there is a form in the Journal which can be sent to the secretary and she will then make initial contact on your behalf.
The major review this year has been of the League’s website, which Susie and Pat have undertaken over the last 6 months together with our website host Connect. They have spent hours of work looking through the old site, archiving material that is no longer current, and transferring articles and photos onto the new site. The new layout is bright and clear, and as promised, they have added a message board for anyone to post comments and to place news of PTS reunions or requests to contact long lost friends.
Prospective new members can join the League easily by using the membership tab and pressing ‘apply now.’ Her details will go directly to the membership secretary to process immediately.
We have a wonderful facility and now we need you to use the website and to send photos and news of League members. Susie will keep you up to date with League news and of events around the Liverpool area, and will send out a regular email to members to remind us to check the site for the latest information.
On behalf of us all, I would like to thank Sylvia Lewis for her dedication in setting up and managing the website in 2004, and Pat Shillington and Susie Overill for continuing to manage the site and updating it in 2014.
I would also like to thank all of the committee members for their continuing hard work during this last year. Moira Sargent took over the membership secretary’s role in April and now manages the database in addition to her other secretarial duties. She manages the Annual Reunion so efficiently, and we do appreciate her input. To lighten the load a little, Jane Boag Munroe now assists her as minute secretary.
Joy Stanley manages our financial affairs so well and has had a busy year looking after our reorganised bank accounts. After merging our business and investment accounts we did receive a better rate of interest than previously, and as ever we are grateful to all those who have donated gifts to increase our income. This year we will cover the cost of the Annual Reunion from the £20 ticket charge so that our bank balance remains healthy.
Mary Newton took over as Journal editor and I think you will agree that she produced an excellent journal for 2014. As she said, she had big shoes to fill, and she has proved that she can do this very well. She will be looking out for contributions for 2015 very soon, so if anyone has any ideas please see her after the meeting. I know she would like to have an article about nurses during WW1 & WW2 as next year is the anniversary of the end of WW2.
Val Thornes has taken on the important role of archivist and is keen to collate all of the League’s memorabilia and display as much as she can. The prints donated by Olga Fulcher and Lesley Robertson have been put up in the corridor opposite to the Chapel and provide a lasting reminder of the history of our training school. Olga continued as a tutor at the new RLH training school, and Lesley was very much involved with the commissioning of the new hospital until 1978. She was then Director of Nursing until 1985, and ensured that the nurses from all of the feeder hospitals maintained the high standards of care expected from the major Liverpool teaching hospital.
Sadly it is now time to say goodbye to our longest serving committee member, Pat Shillington. Pat joined the committee in 2004, and very soon became involved with the website, working alongside Sylvia. She took over as website editor in 2010 and has worked quietly in the background, answering email queries and updating the news, as well as providing us with a wonderful selection of photographs. Pat took the lead on the team that produced the pictorial history of the Liverpool Royal Infirmary for 2008, and has a wealth of information about the old photographs collected together and used at the time.
For the last 2 years she has been Vice President and has always been there to support me. We will all miss her and hope she now has more time to devote to her other hobbies. Thank you Pat, for being such a great committee member.
I now have pleasure in welcoming a new committee member. Mrs Sue Butterworth commenced training in 1963 and worked at the Royal infirmary and Ormskirk hospitals until 1971 before having her family. Since then she has had a varied career as a school nurse, district nurse, and in the private sector before retiring in 2012. Sue volunteered to join our committee and I would like to propose that she becomes an official committee member from November 2014.
The committee meets here at the Foresight Centre 3 times a year and we are always looking for new members to share ideas and help with the responsibilities of the different roles within the committee. It is not an onerous task so please consider joining us.
Finally, I would like to thank the staff of the Foresight Centre for always making us so welcome and for providing us with excellent facilities.
Thank you all for coming today to share this special bond between us, I hope you have a most enjoyable afternoon.

Any Other Business
A raffle will be held during the afternoon to help towards the cost of the new website. The prize is a framed Liberty Print picture, kindly donated by Sarah Newton.

The winner of the picture was Denise Hopper. The raffle raised £117.

This year tables will be allocated to larger groups of year members to enable friends to stay together. They will be numbered around the edge of the room, with 2 tables in the middle for anyone to sit at. The Larrinaga room has been reserved for members from years 1949-56.

Jean Woods proposed thanks to all those who had the initial thinking and had helped to set up the League’s website.

There being no other business the meeting closed with everyone standing and saying the ‘Nurses Prayer’ together.

Honorary Secretary’ Report

The committee have met 3 times in the previous 12 months, we continue to seek new committee members as and when current members retire and we would welcome the support of anyone who is interested.

In the last 12 months there have been 5 new members to the league, 9 members have passed away and today the total number of members stands at 458, 136 of whom are life members. It is very disappointing to report that there have been no new members or enquiries for membership since last November. The number of members attending our reunion has been falling over the last 5 years and we no longer have a waiting list. There are many nurses who trained or partially completed their training at the Royal, before its closure in 1978, who we would welcome as members.
Come on Ladies, do not pass on your journal for another to read encourage them to join our league and receive their own journal.

Several members complained about the seating at the 2014 reunion, and several asked for individual rooms for their PTS’s.
All accommodation used at the Foresight Centre have individual charges and it is the committee responsibility to try to keep the cost as low as possible and that is the reason individual rooms are only booked for anniversaries. If an anniversary group is small we will try to have more than one group in a room. The senior members requested, some years ago, if they could possibly have a room, to themselves, as they had problems hearing and talking over the noise in the large room. For the 2014 reunion one large group, having an anniversary, requested that they stay in the large room rather than have a room to themselves. There were also several PTS’s with large numbers of members attending so the committee agreed that it would be easier to allocate 10 tables, to PTS’s, in the large room. There remained 2 tables, of 10 seats, for anyone who wasn’t part of these large groups or for members who wanted to sit outside their group. On the day, prior to going to tea, members were informed of the seating arrangements and told they could still sit where they wanted. It also thought that having allocated seating would stop the rush, to tea, as in the past we have had to find seating for members who couldn’t get up the stairs quick enough.
No decision has yet been made as to the seating for the 2015 Reunion.

Please note
Drinks will not be provided by the Foresight Centre on arrival as funding will not permit this.

I would like to thank the staff from the Foresight Centre for all the help and assistance they have given to me, personally, especially when organising the Reunion and assisting on the day. If any member has any issue with the Reunion please do not hesitate to contact me.

Moira k. Sargent

Cancer – Past Present and Future

Gill Hamblin
Lead Nurse North West Coast Academic Health Science Network delivered this presentation October 2014
Cancer services within England have undergone a transformation in the past 20 years, and Merseyside & Cheshire have been at the forefront in developing and sustaining changes to cancer services so that today our patients can expect to receive high quality care regardless of where they live or the type of cancer they have. With support centrally from the National Cancer Action team, and locally via the Merseyside & Cheshire Cancer Network, care for people with a diagnosis of cancer is no longer seen as a death sentence. Treatments have matured and survival rates are much improved. Cancer is now seen as a long term condition, on a par with other long term conditions such as asthma or diabetes.
Today there is greater public awareness of the different types of cancer and their treatments. There are many highly public charities that provide support to people and their families with cancer. Patient pathways have been developed so that patients are able to be diagnosed quickly and receive the best available treatment determined by a team of specialist cancer clinicians. The level of knowledge and skills amongst multidisciplinary teams continues to develop. Patients have opportunities to enter into clinical research trials and to gain benefit from advanced technologies so that they may undergo highly specialist diagnostic and surgical techniques to ensure the best possible outcomes.
In Liverpool the Linda McCartney Centre, part of the Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS trust, has become central to the delivery of cancer care and expertise to the local and regional population. Patients with all types of cancer are seen and treated here. Formerly the nurse training school the building has morphed over the past ten years into a specialist cancer centre for cancer services. Facilities include a dedicated out-patient department, a specialist breast unit, a chemotherapy out-patient treatment clinic (delivered by specialist doctors and nurses from Clatterbridge Cancer Centre), access to a team of psychologists and counsellors, and a Macmillan Cancer Information Centre. A more recent development has been the opening of a Cancer Wellbeing Centre which provides aromatherapy and reflexology treatments and will soon offer courses for patients who have completed their cancer treatment and who will be able to access advice and support on moving forward with their lives in recovery from cancer.
The future holds exciting new developments for cancer treatments too. The North West Coast is one of 11 Genomic Medicine Centres in England which is beginning to test the DNA of people with a cancer diagnosis and which will eventually provide improved knowledge about those most at risk as well as helping to develop more targeted drug therapies. Watch this space………

Archivist report

My main aim for this year has been to familiarise myself with the range and diversity of the contents of the League archives (stored in the Foresight centre) .
I was also able to locate some additional archive material in the newly reopened Liverpool Records Office (Liverpool Central library) relating to the LRI .These items had been deposited for safe keeping by the Area health authority in 1978, following the move into the new Royal Liverpool Hospital .(There is archived material which can be accessed, relating to the Royal Southern hospital , the David Lewis Northern hospital and the Royal Liverpool Children’s hospital)

The material archived by the Liverpool Health Authority ranged from records of the Medical committee meetings (1905 -1919), Ward inpatient registers , OPD appointment records, to the Visitors’ Book for The Preliminary Nurse Training school at Woolton Manor. Due to the confidential nature of some material certain records are sealed and will not be available for a further 50 or 75 years. Items of a non confidential nature or before 1900 are available, and make very interesting reading. The archive material is available for everyone to access and a list of the contents of LRI archive will be available on the notice board at the Annual reunion.

2014 marked 100 year anniversary of the outbreak of hostilities leading to the commencement of World War One. I had hoped to find out about more about the war experiences or roles of LRI trained nurses during the First World War. In the Lady Chapel of the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral there is a Nurses’ Memorial Commemorating 20 nurses who lost their lives on active service in the First World War . The available background information on the 20 named nurses is extremely limited. There is currently an initiative as part of the Commemorative activities related to the First World War to try to find out more about these 20 nurses, but currently none of the nurses listed appear to have been linked to the LRI .

In the book Liverpool Royal Infirmary 1887 -1978 , the author Clifford Brewer, identified the difficulties experienced in staffing the hospital (both medical staff and nursing staff ) during the First World War. The medical staff were co -opted to work at the Military hospital at Fazakerley, sixteen sisters and nurses went into the army and four sisters went into the Liverpool Merchants Mobile Hospital . A further eight sisters went into the Admiralty. So a number of Trained nursing staff where involved in caring for injured soldiers or sailors in Military hospitals, on Hospital ships, or on the two wards at LRI used by the War Office. There is very little information available identifying these individual nurses, so I am hoping to locate the roll of Honour that was displayed in the hospital main corridor as a starting point. Can any of the League members remember what happened to the roll of honour or any names listed ?

Finally if any one wishes to discuss any topics related to the League archives please do not hesitate to contact me via our web site or speak to me at the Annual reunion.

Val Thornes

Nurses League Website Report 2015

It has been an eventful twelve months with the development and implementation of a new website. We decided to continue our relationship with Connect who had developed and hosted our previous website.It took many weeks of discussion and experimentation before finalising the structure of the new site but judging from the response users find it informative and easy to navigate. Thanks to Pat Shillington’s experience and knowledge of the previous site we were able to incorporate all the relevant content into the new site which was a huge bonus. I still have to sift through 42 pages of content to re-organise or delete material but Pat has thankfully agreed to continue to support me. I am tremendously grateful for her continued assistance and perspective.
The website went live on 22nd September and we immediately informed those of you whose email addresses we have. The response was gratifying and we thank those of you who responded. Since then I have sent the occasional prompt to look at the website if we have added new content. Unfortunately email addresses change and unless you notify us of those changes then you cut the possibility of getting communications from us. At the reunion I did offer to fund a raffle for a £10 Amazon voucher for those who sent in their email addresses in an attempt to expand our contact group but withdrew the offer when I had a meagre 5 responses. It was discouraging after all the work we had put into developing the site to realise members are not becoming involved in furthering the development of the content by joining in and supplying material. I understand people not wanting to be bombarded with emails but we spent a good sum on the new website and if we don’t want the content to remain stagnant then support is needed. To those of you who have sent us photos and other material thank you so much.
Our main success seems to be with the Message Board with posts from non-members also looking to re-establish contact with old friends. This is the heart of our purpose of the League it seems to me so I am gratified that we have a vehicle to enable that.
Please consider any way in which you can help enrich the content of the site, we will be very pleased to hear from you.
Susie Overill

The Harkness Memorial
Miss Rachel Harkness , Assistant Matron died on the 29th March 1951 aged 62. The family of Miss Harkness purchased a grave in Allerton Cemetery, ( it is plot 49, in section 30), at a cost of £4.10p. The family selected a grave of 4 layers and the title deeds were taken in the name of the Matron of Liverpool Royal Infirmary in order that the grave could be used by any member of the nursing staff who may want to be interned there. There is also a memorial stone in situ. Also buried there is Miss Poueits who was League President from 1976 to the time of her death in 1986 at the age of 99.
The deeds came to light in 2006 and were mentioned in the 2007 journal. The Executive Committee want the membership to be aware of this asset and that it can be used by any member should they so wish. The Charge for opening the grave is slightly greater if you are not a Liverpool resident. The deeds are now held by our President, should you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact any member of the committee.
Moira Sargent and Val Thornes.
Miss Rachel Harkness

League Journal 1951 Page 17