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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.



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

‘I’m not ok and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that’ says Crawley Councillor as he opens up about mental health

As part of Mental Health day a Crawley councillor has opened up about his own mental health issues to show local people that it is ok to open up and talk about the issue.



Liam Ascough is a councillor for Gossops Green in Crawley

Gossops Green Councillor Liam Ascough has written an open letter to his colleagues at the council to raise awareness of mental health issues.

Addressing directly the Council Leader and the Chief Executive, Liam writes:

“Dear Peter and Natalie,

After watching the ‘Every mind Matters’ TV advert, supported by the Duke and Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex, I felt that I had write this open letter of apology but also to help continue the conversation on mental health issues. 

I want to apologise to the both of you, members of staff, fellow members of the council but most importantly to the residents of Gossops Green and North East Broadfield because it’s ok not to be ok and I should have said something a long time ago. 

I have suffered bouts of depression since 2015 but I put that all on hold when my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2017. This happened in the same week I was unceremoniously let go as a Conservative Parliamentary candidate, finished with the partner I thought I’d married and buried a great friend of mine who had died of cancer. October 2017 wasn’t my best month!! 

When I stood as a Parliamentary candidate in 2015, I was on top of the world. I was doing what I’d wanted to do since I was 14 (yes I know, I’m a geek). It was such a full on campaign and I felt I was at the centre of it. After that though, it felt like I’d been dropped like a hot potato. Like I’d been on X Factor one minute and then you were nobody. The Party wasn’t interested in you anymore and suddenly you go from being a somebody to be a nobody again. 

I carried on as if nothing was wrong, although inside I felt deeply depressed and used. Then October 2017 happened and it all got a lot worse. 

Sadly I lost my best friend in my mother on January 4th this year after a monumental battle with cancer. She put up such a great fight but not a day will go by that I don’t miss my mother. Watching her in so much pain, was beyond heartbreaking. 

I put a brave face on, as I always do and tried to get on with things. Sometimes not so well though, as I remember a very kind family in Gossops Green took me into their house whilst canvassing, after I started to cry. I should have known at that point that I wasn’t really coping. 

It wasn’t until my birthday in July that it finally all hit me. Again, I tried to put a brave face on and project the image that everything was ok. The thing is, I’M NOT OK!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that either. I should have said it a long time ago! 

I am sorry for the meetings that I’ve missed and the emails that I haven’t replied to!! I should have said something before. I just couldn’t admit it to myself let alone anyone else! 

The thing is, now that I’ve admitted that I’m not ok, I can finally start to get help and to get back on track.

That’s why I wanted to write this open letter. To say sorry for letting people down. To explain what’s been going on and to be honest about it. Probably most importantly, to let others know that’s it’s ok, to not be ok. I needed to be honest with myself.

The help I received from St Catherine’s Hospice has been invaluable! I am also incredibly blessed to have an amazing network or friends who are my family. 

I am getting through this and I will recover.

Some will think I’m just feeling sorry for myself and that I should ‘man up’. To be fair that’s something I would have said before. Regardless I still think it is ok to say that I’m not ok. I encourage anyone who isn’t feeling ok, to talk about it.

You are not alone and don’t have to ‘man up’ so to speak.”

If you would like more information and help on any issues to do with mental health you can find out more at:

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