Class of '73 reunite at St George's29 September 2023
On Monday, nurses from the Class of ’73, who trained at St George’s when it was located at Hyde Park Corner, gathered to celebrate their ‘Golden Anniversary’. Organised by Nicky Gilmour, Jane Chiodini, Anne Barrowman, Brie Sigaard and Kath Start, it was a wonderful celebration- sharing stories, reuniting and a chance for Senior Executives of the Hospital to meet these amazing nurses.
One of the nurses at the heart of the reunion, Nicky Gilmour, shared her story with us.
“I was interviewed for my training, in a room at St George’s Hospital Hyde Park Corner, as a very nervous 17 year old who had barely been to London before; I promptly walked into a cupboard and then to my embarrassment had to find the door for my exit, but I was still accepted for my training which started at St George’s Hospital Tooting in the early 70s.
After our first year’s training we started work at Hyde Park Corner, which is my favourite Hospital I have ever worked in, as the atmosphere was wonderful and there was a certain buzz and excitement; if you were on duty on New Year’s Eve and all your patients were asleep all you had to do was look out of the window and find the world celebrating down below and waving up at you!
Some of my set left as Nursing wasn’t quite the job they thought it was going to be, but I absolutely loved it from the word go; I had found my calling and vocation. Hurray! Nursing was hard work as it is now, but also all about team-work; camaraderie and fun; you see everything life has to offer; the happy moments such as a baby being born or a very sick patient recovering; and the sad things such as people dying; catastrophes such as the Hilton Bomb which brought us about 60 casualties in about 1973; as well as other IRA atrocities; Aids coming to this country in the early 80’s ; the Clapham Rail disaster, that took me to St George’s casualty to volunteer after hearing about it on the radio; and the 7/7 Bombings in 2005, to name but a few.
I stayed at Hyde Park Corner after I qualified; until alas it closed in 1978, as people who lived in Tooting were being brought up to Hyde Park Corner, which was too far for their relatives to come and visit them and very sadly the Hospital had to close and I returned to working in Tooting.”
Nicky and her follow nurses have made it a tradition to mark special occasions with a reunion, often held at The Lanesborough Hotel, the previous location of St George’s Hospital. This one was extra special, celebrating 50 years since their training began.
Nicky Gilmour, who now works at Parkside hospital said: “I’m very excited to be back. I have the fondest memories of working here.”
Marianne Murray said: “I look around and see an amazing group of women – it’s fantastic to be back where it all started.”
Nicky reflected that coming back to St George’s, “always feels like coming back to family”- and that’s certainly the vibe that was felt in the Hyde Park Room on Monday afternoon.
Congratulations Class of ’73!