Cathie, Chaplaincy Volunteer at St George’s Park

Cathie in 1973 and nowI started my working career as a shorthand typist. To relieve the boredom of office work, I wondered about a more creative career and decided that midwifery was the ultimate in creativity. In the early 70s, divorced women were not accepted as student nurses by prestigious London Hospitals so I trained at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading as a state registered nurse, qualifying in 1976. After a year as a staff nurse – ICU and running the A & E Department at night, I was off to study midwifery in Chertsey in Surrey.

From there, my best friend and I did a stint in Abu Dhabi before I went to Texas for a year. This was to fulfil a childhood ambition of mine to go to the States. On my return, I lived in Drury Lane, central London and worked for Moorfields Eye Hospital who had a branch and nurses’ home in High Holborn. Although my plan had been to work in Saudi, I met my husband and ended up on the Isle of Man for 5 years. Until my work permit came through, I was selling Avon door to door!

We returned to my hometown of Cambridge and I worked as both nurse and midwife while studying for a psychology degree with the Open University.

When economic necessity moved us back to my husband’s hometown of Morpeth in 1997, I started working for this Trust – then called Northgate and Prudhoe NHS Trust – and volunteering for the Chapel at St George’s. After retirement in 2019, it has been a privilege and an education to volunteer for chapel online and in person. After 50 years with the NHS, the only certainty is that change will happen and the people involved will be dedicated and warm-hearted. It has been an extremely rewarding journey.