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My caring mum's life as an 'angel' A lifetime in nursing In association with MACKS Solicitors.

THESE are photographs of Maureen Gardener's mum, Ellen Gardener (nee Flewker). She is known to her friends and family as Nellie, or when working at the Robson Maternity Hospital in Stockton, as Aunty.

This is because her two nieces Rose Monty and Millie Hunt worked with her, said Maureen.

Maureen writes: "My mum was born in 1920 into a large family from Thornaby; she lived down by the railway and always has stories to tell from those days. She started work very young and although had other jobs worked in the nursing field all her life.

She started working and sleeping in at North Ormesby Hospital. Her best friend there was a lady called Ida Kerr whom she remembers but lost contact with many years ago.

She said it was a long way from home and they didn't have the bus fare to visit home. Mum remembers there was lots of stairs. I have no photographs but she must have been very young as in the picture, bottom left on Page 13, she was 17 years old and worked at Durham Road Hospital, Stockton, which at that time was a TB Hospital. The picture was taken outside the matron's office, her friend there is Emily Butler, who was from Stockton, and mum tells me she died young but they had some great times there.

Mum then went to the Robson Maternity Hospital where she worked for a number of years before moving to Portrack Lodge, in Stockton, which was then the workhouse. The photograph far right was taken on the step; I don't know the names of the other nurses. I can remember as a child, my brothers and me attending the annual garden party.

Mum then went back to the Robson Maternity Hospital.

During these years she had my three brothers, Billy, David, Edward and me.

The picture above was taken on the steps of the Robson, although I don't know the mother and baby. In those days a nurse always carried the baby outside the hospital before handing them to the parents.

When the Robson closed she moved to North Tees, and the picture top left shows her outside - again I don't know the mother and baby but the fashions show the years have moved on.

You can also see in the background the main building of North Tees was just being built.

Mum left nursing when she was 60 but didn't leave the caring profession - she went to work at Blenheim House where the matron was Margaret Taylor who sadly died in 1989.

And then in Redhill House Care Home where she stayed until retirement in 1985.

The matron there was Val Taylor, Margaret's daughter.

Mum's health is not too good but has been and continues to be the best role model I could have wished for.
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Feb 21, 2009
Words:470
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