An Auxiliary Nurse who has helped to bring hundreds of babies into the world is retiring after 44 years.
Linda Sumner is now helping her second generation of mothers to give birth in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn.
Mrs Sumner was taken on as a Nursing Auxiliary in 1972 when she began working in the former Maternity Hospital, which is now the Fermoy Unit, before later moving into the current building.
She will be completing her final shift today (Tuesday, 27 September).
Mrs Sumner, who lives in Walpole Cross Keys, said: “It has been a tremendous privilege to see all of those babies come into the world.
“I do still really enjoy the job, especially the interaction and helping the new mums. I am going to miss my job and my colleagues. It is going to be a big wrench for me to leave but I think now is the right time as I have so much I would like to do.”
She started work six weeks before the former Maternity Hospital opened and helped to set up the delivery rooms.
Mrs Sumner, who took a break in 1973 to have her third child but returned in 1975, said: “I think being a mum was a good background and I have always been the sort of person who likes to help others.
“The first birth I helped with was a Caesareian Section.”
Mrs Sumner has spent most of her career working nights in the delivery suite.
She said: “I am a night owl and it is going to be a struggle to go to bed at a ‘normal’ time.
‘I have seen a number of changes over the years. Fathers were not allowed into the Delivery room when I started,but now they are. I think this is one of the most important changes I have seen, as they feel and are, much more involved now, it means they can bond with their baby immediately along with Mum. I think it lovely for them to be at the birth to welcome their baby into the world.
“I am also very happy that I was saw the new Waterlily Birthing Unit open, and have enjoyed working alongside the Midwives in there. It is a beautiful unit. A water birth is another truly wonderful and privileged experience to witness .
“There have been numerous other changes in between, but these are examples of one of the oldest and the newest changes I have seen.”
Mrs Sumner is looking forward to spending more time with her family and has big plans for her retirement. She is a member of the King’s Lynn Rock Choir, which will be performing at the hospital’s open day on Sunday, October 2, and has also taken up Salsa dancing. Mrs Sumner also hopes to join the Royal Horticulture Society.
She will be celebrating her retirement with a party in King’s Lynn Town Hall in October.
Director of Nursing Catherine Morgan has thanked Mrs Sumner for her 44 years of service.
She said: “I would like to wish Linda a very happy retirement and thank her for her dedication over the years. She has been a reassuring presence in the delivery suite and has helped countless new mothers and their babies.
“The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is aiming to become an outstanding trust in all areas of patient care. Earlier this year we opened the midwife-led Waterlily Birth Centre to provide greater choice for women. The new unit has received excellent feedback from new parents, who have appreciated the homely feel.”
Director of Nursing Catherine Morgan congratulates Linda Sumner on her retirement