A dedicated healthcare worker has come out of retirement to help her former colleagues at Salisbury District Hospital fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Kiereen Lock began her career as a newly-qualified Speech Therapist at the hospital in Odstock in August 1969.

She didn’t realise then that over 50 years later her skills and expertise would still be needed and that she would heed the call.

During the pandemic she has returned to fill a vital role in the Salisbury District Hospital Speech and Language Department on a part-time basis.

That she was destined to work for the NHS was evident in her family.

Salisbury Journal: Kiereen in 1969Kiereen in 1969

“I have strong family connections to the Salisbury hospitals,” she said.

“My grandfather, father and sister have all been GPs in Downton and my sister started her first house job in the old Salisbury Infirmary.”

In 1969 Kiereen was part of a very hardworking team, although they did enjoy themselves too.

“It wasn’t all hard graft,” she recalled.

“We were allowed to bring our dogs to work and spent happy lunch time breaks walking them on the beautiful area which is now the staff and visitors’ car park.”

Kiereen also took part in the popular Odstock Ward Christmas staff the panto and was cast as ‘Cinderubella’.

She was featured in the ‘Bygone Days’ section in the Journal which showed a cast picture of the pantomime over 50 years ago. 

She may have thought she had finished working when she left Salisbury in 1974 and moved to Devon.

However, three years later, when she moved to Dorset, she was asked to work with an organisation then called the Dorset Spastics Society.

From then on she continued to work as a Speech and Language therapist wherever her family moved, including as Chief Speech and Language Therapist at University Hospital Southampton.

Returning to Salisbury District Hospital 18 years ago, Kiereen sought to see out the rest of her career there and stayed until she retired from the NHS in 2017. 

But when Covid struck, she found that she was needed once more to care for patients and support her overworked colleagues.

She felt couldn’t stay on the sidelines, she said.

“To return 51 years later to my favourite hospital to work with such a talented team is a huge privilege.

“I am in awe of how everyone - therapists, assistants and office staff alike - are responding so positively to the challenges of working during this pandemic.

“I do have retirement plans, they just seem to be temporarily on hold.”

Get more Salisbury news.

You can also like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date.

Email newsdesk@salisburyjournal.co.uk with your comments, pictures, letters and news stories.