A SIXPENNY Handley nurse has retired after a career spanning 51 years.

Caroline Catchpole has worked at the Sixpenny Handley Surgery for 25 years where she has held the posts of district nurse and later practice nurse.

She retired on Wednesday, March 31, and had a “lovely” send-off from colleagues at the surgery, which is part of the Sixpenny Handley and Chalke Valley Practice.

“It is the patients that make it they are just amazing. If you can do something to make them better it is fantastic. It is also a tremendous privilege to look after sick people and to do that job. I’m going to miss it terribly," said Caroline.

She will also miss the “lovely” staff and doctors at the surgery.

“I’ve been very fortunate and lucky indeed to have had this career. I look back on everything with such happy memories,” added the 70-year-old.

But Caroline admits she had not set out to have a career in nursing initially.

The idea was sparked when she was working at a boys prep school and there was flu epidemic where she ended up helping care for the children. She would also deal with the cuts, bumps and scrapes the children would get after playing sports.

“I was in my element,” admits Caroline who loved taking care of people.

“It was odd, literally one day when I was looking after a child off the rugby pitch thought ‘I know I’d like to be a nurse’. Nothing was going to stop me after that. It was like having an epiphany really.”

She completed her training at University College Hospital (UCH) in London. After working in London she went to Montreal in Canada for a short time and then returned to London to work before moving to Sixpenny Handley.

She says working during the pandemic has been “hard” but the patients have been “amazing”.

To her patients, she said: “Thank you for letting me be part of your lives for this time.You are so brave and stoic and such lovely people.

“It has been such a privilege to help them and look after them all these years, which has been great. Patients put their trust in you and what greater privilege is there than that?”

She also thanked the staff at the surgery for all their support.

Caroline is looking forward to spending more time with her family and also getting out in her garden.


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