Globetrotting nurses recall good old days

Back, from left: Maryann Hargreave, Prue Luget, Carol Hammond, Liz Reavley, Gill Cooper, Hilary Traylen, Maggie Moore, Maureen Fleming, Liz Casamento. Front, left to right: Ronnie Harrison, Nicky Brennan, Sue Buckingham, Marion King and Sandra Middleton

The women who started training as nurses in Oxford in 1963.

The 25th anniversary get-together

Nicky Brennan

Radcliffe Infirmary’s Triton fountain

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by

FIFTY years ago they were training together as young nurses.

Now half a century later, they have travelled from all over the world to attend a reunion of those who learnt at Oxford’s former main hospital – the Radcliffe Infirmary.

Some of the 14 former classmates had travelled from as far as Australia, Canada and America to catch up and share memories at Headington School last Saturday.

Members of the group began their training in March 1963 – the same year the Beatles released their first album, Cliff Richard’s film Summer Holiday was released and the first episode of Doctor Who was broadcast.

East Oxford resident Veronica Brennan – known as Nicky – said: “We trained there for three years and then were obliged to do a fourth year in the hospital where we trained.

“It was great fun but hard work.”

The 68-year-old grandmother-of-10 said: “I think nursing has changed very much, a great deal.

“The pace of nursing has changed because the length of stay is much shorter for patients, and nurses are in the community more.”

Mrs Brennan and her former classmates also enjoyed a meal the night before the reunion at Hawkwell House Hotel in Church Way, Iffley.

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Some of the group have previously reunited to celebrate their 45th, 40th and 25th anniversaries. Mrs Brennan, who was just 18 when she started her training in 1963 and is now retired, added: “It was fantastic to see everybody there, everyone is just the same really.”

She went on to specialise in theatre, before moving on to midwifery and finishing her career at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, where she worked as a specialised nurse in immunology from 1983 to 2003.

Grandmother-of-five Prue Luget trained in Oxford with Mrs Brennan before having a career in nursing and health visiting.

The retired 68-year-old, who now lives in Stewkley near Aylesbury, said: “It was really enjoyable because we went back over old times and heard about what everybody had done since.”

“Nursing is always changing. When we started we were ward-based. Now it is a degree course.”

Nurses are now trained at Oxford Brookes University and the John Radcliffe Hospital.

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