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Health & Wellbeing

Popular local nurse retires after 48 years service

By Helen Gilbert:
A popular diabetes specialist nurse has hung up her uniform for the last
time after serving 48 years with the NHS.

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Dolly Gilbert, 68, from Horley in Surrey began working as a nurse at the age of 20 when her wages were just £36 a month.

The medical worker, who is married to former supermarket department manager Barrie, with whom she shares two grown-up daughters, retired on Thursday [31 January].

“I’ll miss my colleagues and patients very much, she said.  “It’s the end of an era.”

Dolly, who originally hails from Guyana in South America, arrived in the UK on Christmas Eve in 1970.

She rejected a student nurse placement in Brooklyn, New York in favour of
Dorking Hospital and within 18 months had qualified as a state enrolled
nurse before quickly rising through the ranks to Registered General Nurse
(RGN) and Registered Nurse Child Brand (RNCB) grades.

The keen table tennis player, who represents Crawley-based club the
Foresters, then met her husband in 1972 before giving birth to her first daughter in 1975.

“Back there wasn’t very much maternity leave,” Dolly recalls. “I went back
to work when my first child was six weeks old, and three months after my
second daughter was born. I changed my shifts from days to nights so that I
could look after them.”

During the 1990s, Dolly worked as a sister on the children’s ward at
Crawley Hospital before specialising in paediatric and adolescent diabetes
19 years ago.

In 2016 her diabetes team was a finalist in the BMJ Awards, which recognise the inspirational work done by doctors and their teams in the NHS and private practice.

“Dolly always went above and beyond to make a difference, especially
showing empathy and compassion to the children and young people she cared for at the hospital,”
Jane Dickson, chief nurse at Surrey and Sussex
Healthcare NHS Trust, said.


“She was a valuable and inspirational member of staff, who will be greatly
missed by the teams she worked with. We would like to thank Dolly for her
commitment to care and wish her all the best in her retirement”


Dolly, who has volunteered at her local Oxfam shop for the past 30 years, and will now also assist charity Grocery Aid in her spare time, added: 

“I’ve always enjoyed helping people and have met some lovely families over the years. I’m so touched by all the thank you letters and the kind messages
I’ve received. Some patients have said they don’t want me to leave but I
feel like it’s finally time for me to go.  I’ll really miss everyone but
I’m looking forward to travelling a lot more, playing more table tennis and bowls and spending more time in the garden.


Health & Wellbeing

Free cancer course comes to Crawley

A leading cancer charity is hosting a free support course in Crawley for people with cancer and their close supporter.

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Penny Brohn UK’s two-day Living Well course takes place at the Olive Tree Cancer Support Centre, West Green Drive, on 6 and 13 July, from 10am to 5.30pm.

The course addresses cancer’s physical and psychological impact and shows how healthy eating, exercise and relaxation can improve health and wellbeing, before, during and after medical treatment.

Penny Brohn UK Living Well regional partnership manager Supriya More said:

“Cancer can be overwhelming, but many small things can add up to make a big difference to the way people cope as they prepare for, undergo or recover from treatment.

“Our Living Well helps people take back some control of their lives.”

A recent course attendee added:

“I highly recommend this to everyone with cancer and those supporting them.

“If anything, it was more valuable to my husband (I’m the one with cancer) – it gave him the opportunity to talk to others in the same situation.”

With nearly 40 years’ experience, Penny Brohn UK recognises that people with cancer need more than medicine.

Its Bristol Whole Life Approach provides integrated whole person cancer support that works alongside medical treatment to achieve the best health and wellbeing.

The approach explores areas such as diet, exercise, relationships and managing stress, through free residential and day courses, one-to-one therapies, groups and national helpline.

Living Well courses are free and empower people with cancer and their supporters to rediscover their joy of living.

Places are limited and first come, first served. To attend the course you must book in advance by calling 0303 3000 118 or emailing bookings@pennybrohn.org.uk. For more information visit www.pennybrohn.org.uk.

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