A couple's farewell to the NHS
19 April 2012

The couple met in 1978 while Christine was a student nurse working in the hospital’s casualty department.

“There was a big group of staff from the hospital that used to meet regularly on Friday nights,” said Christine. “My friend had asked me to go along and we met up with a few of the ambulance crew, one of whom she had wanted to date. He had brought along a friend, a new ambulance man.”

Although Christine and Stephen’s friends’ relationship did not continue, Christine and Stephen continued to see each other and married some four years later.

Explaining the secret of their marriage Stephen said: “Both my wife and I being part of the NHS has been hard at times, juggling both work commitments and family life, but with both of us having an understanding of each other‘s needs it has worked well.

“Also having someone who listens and understands the work you do helps, such as when I have been on a traumatic job and have had to deal with my feeling after. “

Between them, the couple have notched up an impressive 74 years’ service in the NHS.

Christine has spent her entire career at Tameside - apart from a short break while her two children were young -  and said she was sad to be leaving behind so many good friends.

“The NHS and Tameside Hospital has undergone a lot of changes in the 38 years I have worked here and I’ll be sad to say goodbye to patients and to colleagues.”

Stephen recalling his first day on the job with the North West Ambulance Service said: “I had just started and had not been issued a uniform, but had been sent out with a crew to observe for the first day. On reaching casualty, I was confronted by the Senior Sister at that time, and promptly told to get out!

“When I tried to explain, she told me it was her department, and she did not know me, and I had no uniform, so to get out and not to come back until I was correctly dressed. I thought well this is a great job isn’t it, but here I am some 35 years later.”

During her impressive career, Christine worked as a nurse, achieving her Diploma in Higher Education - Teaching and Learning Practice, and became the first nurse at Tameside Hospital to deliver a nurse led clinic in 1996, working with consultant Gynaecologist Mr AI Kiwanuka.

Four years ago, while still working as the trust’s clinical nurse specialist in urodynamics, Christine became an NVQ assessor, which allowed her to support staff within the outpatients department to gain their NVQs in Health and Social Care. She went on to become NVQ Coordinator for Health, during which time her students have maintained a 100 per cent pass rate.

The couple now intend to spend the summer relaxing, and are currently awaiting the imminent birth of their second grandchild. They are also set to continue raising money for charity, while Stephen prepares for a second term as the Master of Concord Masonic Lodge at Audenshaw.