I recall clearly, Celia writing the tribute to the late Joan V. Roberts, little knowing that there was so little time left for her. Cecilia Mary Tryers sadly died of metastatic inflammatory breast cancer on the 29th of June 2011 – she was a bright, irrepressible light, the world is a darker place for all those who knew and cared for her.
Generosity and faithfulness – loyalty, constancy, truth, boundless common sense were inherent in her – they were part of who she was; part of her profound belief in God and her love and compassion towards her fellow beings. It was the core of her nursing practice and sustained her during her long and successful nursing career. Celia was an inspirational nurse to those with whom she worked.
Celia was special – she was my dearest friend and my partner for nearly thirty years. Her fortitude and courage in the face of her devastating illness was humbling – the effects of her illness cannot be underestimated, but she carried on regardless. It was privilege to care for her and a privilege for this consultant to become a nurse‘s handmaiden!. Celia was a happy person and her contentment and zest for life was infectious to all. She had a true sense of fun, the warm smile was ever present and she was a born communicator – her interpersonal skills were highly tuned, and this together with her mastery of the one liner, often diffused potentially difficult situations.
Celia was born in Broadgreen Hospital on the 20th December 1945. She was proud of her City with its colourful history, its music and its sport and the legendary wit and humour of its residents amply exhibited by the lady herself. Whilst at the Mabel Fletcher College of Education, she realised she wanted to nurse, and as she was not yet 18, entered Broadgreen Hospital as a cadet nurse and commenced her training in 1964. For Celia , the commencement of her nursing career was comparable to a fragile fledgling realising it can fly – in nursing Celia discovered that not only had she the natural ability to nurse but the ability to do it very well. So she began to fly, and gradually she soared to the heights of her chosen profession.
Celia became a State Registered Nurse in 1967 and started her career as a staff nurse and four years later was a sister in Orthopaedic surgery. Her progress continued and in 1973 she entered district nurse training, obtained the gold medal and subsequently worked as a district nursing sister.
For Celia it was not all work and no play – she liked folk music and in the late 60’s there was a great boom in folk music in Liverpool, and with three friends set up their own folk club. The hard working nurse became the treasurer and over the next few years met many now well known artists, and was very involved in providing hospitality, albeit on occasions it was a floor to spend the night on, with an early breakfast before she went to work! Barbara Dixon, Jimmy McGregor and Jasper Carrot were but a few – Celia’s warmth and sense of fun was much in evidence, as was her ability to mimic and her life long love of dancing. However making bacon and eggs for the Jewish Jasper Carrot was not her finest hour.
In 1975 she returned to hospital nursing, as a night sister at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary, Celia received and kept the famous frilly, a la Miss Nightingale. Promotion followed to a nursing officer in Orthopaedic surgery and she transferred with her Unit to the Royal Liverpool Hospital, the first beds to be occupied in the new hospital. In 1983 she secured one of two senior nurse training posts at the Liverpool Health Authority. Celia found herself involved in multiple operational activities relating to hospital and community care, which helped formulate the consummate chief nurse and effective senior manager she was to become.
In her role at the LHA she was responsible for the planning and implementation of nursing services for the care of the terminally ill in both hospitals and the community. As a Chief Nurse she continued to develop services by introducing Macmillan nursing services into the hospital units. It is thus surprising that when she became very ill in the last four months of life she refused services, always with a smile – we are managing fine!
In 1987, she was appointed the Director of Nursing and Patient services at Broadgreen Hospital. Celia had returned to her parent hospital where she had trained and she was happy and excited. She embarked on her challenging role at a time of significant changes in the Health Service and was closely involved in the application of the Hospital as a first wave Trust, and involved in the planning of the separation of a third of the unit to form the Cardio Thoracic Centre, little thinking she too would eventually follow.
It was a special moment for her when she was appointed an Honorary Lecturer in the Nursing department of Liverpool University, reflecting her commitment to teaching. Excellence is inseparable from education and Celia’s contributions were many. She was proud of her creation of clinical nurse specialists, initially to take over patient admission clerking, but soon expanding the clinical nurse specialist model into other areas of specific nursing expertise.
Celia always retained an undiminished passion for good bedside nursing – she was ever the Patients’ nurse. Complementary to this was her intimate understanding of the needs and challenges faced by her staff, and she worked closely with her senior nursing colleagues to ensure that her finger was on the pulse of ward nursing. It was not always to the comfort of staff but they all knew that whilst she might sit in the Boardroom, her sharp sense of observation meant that she was never far away from events on the front line.
“I scatter not dust
But memories, of sharing
Love, a pillowed head;
Fear, a severed breast;
Two lives enraptured.”
May the peace and presence of God be always with you. A thangnefydd a phresenoldeb Duw i’r gyda chi, Celia
M. GILLIAN MALSTER,
Retired Consultant Physician in Geriatric Medicine House Officer Liverpool Royal Infirmary 1970.
Mrs Mary Rainger nee Bardin PTS April 59
Mary passed away on 6th November after a short illness. She was active on her allotment until a short time before her death. We will miss her greatly. She only retired from nursing seven years ago.From her younger sister. Flo Blundell nee Bardin.
Miss Lesley Robertson 1931 – 2016
Delivered by Noel Kent at her Memorial Service in the Chapel at RLUBHT.
On behalf of Les’s family I would like to thank you all for being here today as we remember and give thanks for the life of Les. I would like especially to mention those of her friends and family who are too frail or too far away to be here today. I am sure that their thoughts and prayers will be with us and Les today. Les I suspect would be bemused by today as her instructions were to keep things simple and not make a fuss. This was so typical of her, she was so much more interested in everyone else and not in herself. I think she would have had a chuckle seeing me standing here in a suit, I am not sure that she had ever seen me in my finery.
Les was a very special person in our family, and I know that I speak for my cousins today. She not only was an aunt, but a friend ,a surrogate mother and a granny combined. She was the glue that kept us all together, she knew all the Rorkes and Robertsons and more importantly kept in touch with them and as a result kept us up to date as to who was doing what.
Les was born in Bulawayo in September 1931 the second of four girls who were collectively known as the “Robbie Girls”. She was educated in Luanshya and Bulawayo and after school she entered the nursing profession. She trained in Bulawayo and then moved to Nairobi and then on to the UK. She was very good at what she did and rose through the ranks to become Regional Nursing Officer where she was responsible for the planning, implementation and running of the new Liverpool Royal Infirmary . This mega hospital was built and entailed the closure of seven other hospitals and their amalgamation into one. Last week the Catholic Bishop of Liverpool phoned and after offering his condolences told us how highly thought of Les was. I quote ” she was full of integrity and was greatly respected” and ” I thoroughly enjoyed working with her”. He will be holding a memorial service for Les in the hospital chapel in September. Les and Bishop Tom were instrumental in the establishment of the chapel as part of the hospital.
In the mid 1980s Les moved to Saudi Arabia and then on to El Ain and her final working years were in Nairobi before retiring to the Cape.
Les loved to travel and every year she would spend two weeks in some exotic place and then a month over Christmas with her family in Africa . Les went to Turkey, China, Malaysia, Morocco, Indonesia, Jordan, Egypt, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand just to mention a few. And boy did she take photos, boxes and boxes of them. Les is the reason why my family are so camera shy. Every time you looked up there was a lens pointing at you. When I was younger on the farm, we had to clean up, change our clothes, brush our hair and put shoes on for Les’s annual photo for her rogues gallery. Although Les spent most of her working life abroad she considered Africa her home. She loved Kenya, on safari with her special friends there, Zimbabwe where she grew up and had a myriad of relatives and the Cape where she had holidayed as a girl, where her parents had retired and where Zeta lived. Les was proud to be South African having renounced her British citizenship. It was always a good way to wind her up by telling her I was an ABSA supporter,” Anyone But South Africa.”
My earliest memory of Les was of this glamorous, fashionable, jet setting bearer of gifts my more interesting than my mother or aunts. Near to our birthdays and Christmas we would eagerly wait for that card and parcel with that distinctive tell tale writing in blue fountain pen. They always arrived on time and were chosen with great care, the latest ‘ in thing’ in the UK, be it a yoyo or T shirts or whatever. In sanctions affected backward Rhodesia we were trendy thanks to Les.
Les made very close friends all over the world and was a great correspondent. She must have spent a fortune on phone bills in her life time. She loved having her friends to stay and show them her special places. She was wonderful with my children when they stayed with her. Les like all the Robertsons liked to entertain. Entertain meant mountains of food. The fun was in the planning, procurement and preparation. Some of her offerings were legendary, her fruit cakes and tipsy tarts were notorious for the amount of alcohol in them. You didn’t want to be breathalysed after eating her pudding. Like her sisters she had an obsession with ‘padkos’, you never went anywhere without huge supplies. My children went to watch cricket at Newlands with a whole roast chicken.
Les had a great sense of humour. When she was in her forties I started calling her my geriatric aunt, which she loved. Sadly in time this became true. Jacquie and I were fortunate enough to spend a week with her here in Cape Town in March and it was very special to us. Les was tired, worried about losing her independence and starting to lose her love of life. Whilst we will all really miss her we are glad that she never truly lost her independence, or suffered the indignity of ill health and decline.
On the wall in Les’s office we found this quote which I think really summed up her life.
” She has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and love much, who has gained the respect of intelligent people and the love of little children. Who has filled her niche and accomplished her task and has left the world better than she found it.” As her friend Ted said to me in June ” That Lesley, she’s a damn fine woman”.
I would like to conclude by thanking Basil, Martin, Shireen and especially Michelle for the love and care they gave Les for so many years. Thank you.
Miss Doreen Joyce
My Aunt, Doreen Joyce, known to her family as “Doe”, was passionate about three things in life: her faith and its community, her family, and nursing. For Doe, nursing wasn’t a job or even a career. It was a vocation. She worked with and trained nurses at the Royal to the highest, most exacting standards.One of her colleagues who worked with her for years described her as dynamite. In her work, she embodied the spirit of Florence Nightingale.
She cared with all her heart for and about her patients. As her family, we often heard stories from former patients themselves whose lives she had touched for the better. She was eventually promoted to a managerial position that took her away from the wards, but when circumstances rendered the hospital short-staffed and she was back temporarily in direct contact with the patients, she said she was never happier.
We always used to say that if Doe were still nursing now, MRSA would never have had the audacity to evolve. If it had, it would have taken one look at Doe, put on its hat and coat and made a run for the door.
She reached a position of authority and responsibility enjoyed by few women of her generation. Her commitment to her work extended beyond the Royal and even the UK. She travelled professionally abroad providing technical assistance to nurses in other countries. She was not even afraid to take on one of the 20th Century’s notorious dictators. In the 1980s she was part of a team that travelled on several occasions to Libya, where she advised Colonel Qaddafi on how to set up hospitals. You can bet he sat and listened and did exactly what he was told – her reputation will have preceded her.
Speaking of setting up hospitals, she was part of the team who opened what she still, almost 40 years later, referred to as the new Royal. It was an emotional wrench for her to leave the beloved old Royal but it was a comfort to her to see the building survive and come back into use.
She loved her family as well. She took early retirement from her career to care for her mother. She adored her sisters Jo and Stella, and her brother, Tony, my Dad. She absolutely loved birthday celebrations and as a family we always made a point of doing something special for her. In truth, Doe was not a materialistic person and it was never about the gifts. It was all about the celebration (although Turkish delight was always welcome).
She was known to get up and sing and dance the Kerry Dances, which was definitely her party piece. On her last birthday, two months ago, we arrived at the Knotty Ash Care Home, where she had recently moved, with a cake for her only to find that the chef at the Home had made her one as well. She was thrilled to be getting two cakes and declared that she would not be sharing either of them with anyone else.
We are grateful to the Knotty Ash Care Home for the wonderful care and attention they gave her in her final months. My Mum visited Doe there for the first time a couple of days after she moved in, and she came home and said, “It’s going to be a great place for her, they’ve already worked out that she likes her tea milky and weak”.
Speaking of which, she was slim all her life but she loved to eat. She loved good food and was no stranger to 60 Hope Street, but nor was she a food snob. On our last outing to the Greenhills in Allerton, she picked up the jumbo portion plate at the carvery buffet, and when the server asked if it was for her teenage great-nephew standing next to her, she retorted, “Certainly Not!” She filled the plate with Desperate Dan portions and then polished it off in short order, as she always did.
Doreen’s faith was central to her life and informed everything she did both professionally and personally. She spent most of her life as an active parishioner here at St. Margaret Mary’s where until relatively recently she often did the readings at Mass. To her family, Doe’s whereabouts at any given time were usually a mystery, particularly in retirement. She refused any form of modern technology. Her sister Stella gave her a mobile phone which she said was an invasion of her privacy. IPods, IPads, IPhones, laptops, they were unthinkable. Voicemail? Out of the question. You couldn’t even leave a message saying you were thinking about her.
She was always out and about, and we never knew where. My three children would joke that she couldn’t tell us where she was because she was actually running an illegal gambling den. You were lucky if you dropped by and actually would found her at home.
The day before she died in her beloved Royal, when we knew she was drifting away from us, my mum, Michelle and I sat with her. We were waiting for her nephew John Paul to bring her sister, my Auntie Stella, to see her and it was a privilege to see her face light up when Stella arrived. Yet, while we waited for Stella, she began to sing with my Mum – at this point I said “What about the Kerry Dances, Doe?”. Instantly, she boomed out the song – I am surprised she didn’t get up and do the dance. I will always remember this as the last thing I asked of her and the last thing she did for me.
Doe was a caring, loving special person to many people in and beyond the family and she would do anything for anybody. It was easy to learn from her through the way she lived her life. She taught me one last life lesson even in her death – I was asked by the medical staff in the hospital about end of life medication. I replied NO and from within I said, without thinking: She is ready and she wants to go, and through her strong Catholic faith and belief, she has no fear of death. In fact, I really believe that she wanted to be and was ready to be with her parents, her sister my Aunt Jo, and my Dad in Heaven. So the very last thing that Doe taught me was the importance of faith – sadly a faith, that I have neglected at times but will strengthen now in her memory.
My son James called me yesterday and asked me what I was up to and I replied that I was writing this eulogy. He replied, “Just get up and say that in a game of cricket, you get bowlers, wicket keepers, batters and fielders, but Doe was just a “Great All Rounder”. She was our Ian ‘Beefy’ Botham”.
All in all, Doe was a one-off. We knew it all along and we loved her for it. She will be missed. It is truly the end of an era. 2017
Miss Elspeth Margaret Yule 1921 – 2018
Miss Elspeth Yule
Carolyn Rankine, Ruth Halsall, Miss Gwyddfid Davies, Judith Hawkins, Anna Thomas and I attended the Service for Miss Yule on the 30th of May. The Minister spoke of her love of travel and holidays. She was a gifted artist who had produced watercolour paintings on postcards for the League. She was also a very keen at needlework and continued for many years to make soft toys to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
We all remembered her as the gentle lady who supported us and the patients through the long dark hours of night duty.
Mrs Dot Williams nee Jones CT 1957
Mum was born on 1st December 1938 in Amlwch, Anglesey, the youngest of three children. She went to Amlwch Primary School up to the age of 11 before attending Dr. Williams School in Dolgellau to get her secondary education.
While in Dr. Williams School (DWS) Mum met Dad who was a pupil at Dolgellau High School. Dad was one of a handful of boys who went to Dr.Williams School every week for Science lessons.
After leaving school, Mum went to The Liverpool Royal Infirmary to study nursing and after qualifying, she received a job as ‘Sister’ in the casualty department at the hospital, where Dad also worked as a ‘Houseman’.
Mum and Dad were married at Capel Mawr, Amlwch on 29th July 1961 and settled in Chester. Eighteen months later, Richard was born – at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary where they both worked. When Rich was 7 months old, Dad accepted a job as a GP in Barmouth and later that year, Hywel was born. Seven years later, and Dad, Mum, Rich and Hywi having settled down at Craig-yr-Wylan, Llanaber, I landed!
At the beginning of the 70’s, Mum received a job as a part time lecturer at Coleg Meirionnydd, Dolgellau. The college was based at the Llwyn site at that time but in 1975, Gwynedd County Council decided to buy the old DWS building for the Education Authority. So back to her old school Mum went as a pre-nursing lecturer.
During her leisure time, Mum enjoyed a wide range of sports. Whilst at DWS, she was captain of the school hockey team and also played for the Meirionnydd County Team. She continued her sporting interest after leaving school and played cricket for the ‘Liverpool Ladies’ during her time in Liverpool. Local people would probably remember seeing Mam and Dad on almost a daily basis on the courts in Barmouth during the tennis season. She also enjoyed playing squash and skiing and won the ‘Merched y Wawr’ Wales Doubles Table Tennis Championship a few years ago.
Mum was good at keeping in touch with people and played an important part in organising annual reunions for the ‘DWS Old Girls’ and also to the former North Walian nurses at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary. As well as organising reunions, her local community and charitable work were very important to her. Over the years she had volunteered and raises a great deal of money for various charities including the Red Cross, Action Research, Jubilee Sailing Trust, PHAB and the RNLI.
She was also a faithful member of Caersalem Chapel in Barmouth, a member of the Welsh Society and former chairman of the local branch of Merched y Wawr.
Mum enjoyed travelling the world and learning about different countries and cultures. She visited several continents including Africa, North America, Australia and Asia and visited several European countries on skiing and summer holidays with the family. She loved arranging trips across North America with her two sisters in law (Hâf and Betty) and the three were somewhere between Washington DC and New Orleans on one of their trips when the news broke about the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Despite the troubles, the three came back safely and no worse after the experience.
In the year 2000 Mum and Hywel went on a once in a lifetime trip around the world. They were away for a period of 5 ½ weeks and visited Los Angeles, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia and Singapore and met up with old friends and family along the way.
Dad retired as a GP from Minfor Surgery in August, 1992 but unfortunately due to his health, neither he or Mum had much opportunity to enjoy his retirement. Dad was unwell for a long time and as a family we are most grateful to Mum for her care of both Dad and Hywel over the years.
Sadly, Mum was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 but bravely fought the illness and was in remission. Then in September 2015 she suffered a stroke which changed her life completely. Despite this, Mum continued to battle on and take care of Dad until June of last year when the cancer returned. Both Mam and Dad’s health deteriorated in the last 6 months. Dad died on 26th of January this year and Mum lost her brave battle just 12 weeks later on April 21st 2018
Mum never spoke badly about anyone and despite the pain and suffering, to the end she still put other people first.