NHS veteran steps down after 65 years’ service to Montagu Hospital

On 25 July, the Chair of Montagu Hospital Comforts Fund was presented with a plaque by the Comforts Fund Trustees as she steps down from the role.

Nora Gill, who trained as a nurse at St Luke’s in Bradford in 1953, has held sundry roles within the hospital and throughout her career.

After her mother fell ill, Nora returned home to help with her care. She applied for a part-time staff nurse position at Montagu Hospital, which at the time was 36 hours a week, and began working in 1957.

Nora met her husband at a dance in the Empress Building in Mexborough and after falling pregnant, left her post as a staff nurse.

A year later and with her mother’s health improving, she was asked to return as a Sister.

In the late 60s, she was promoted to the role of Matron – known then as ‘Nursing Officer’. Nora was responsible for the medical wards, children’s wards, outpatients, and care of the elderly to name a few.

She remained in this role until she retired in 1992 at 52-years-old, totalling 35 years of work in nursing.

Speaking about this time in her life, Nora said: “It was quite a time in those years. A lot of changes would come along, including a change in title.”

Nora knew she wanted to be a nurse since she was ten years old. After being sent to Montagu Hospital because of a roller-skating injury, she was admitted for treatment on the children’s ward. It was this moment, and the excellent care she received, that cemented her future career in her mind.

Nora said: “I enjoyed every minute in my career as a nurse, even the hard times.”

“If there was an issue, for example in the winter when staff couldn’t get in and we needed people to cover shifts, I would present myself. It was always, ‘if you need someone, I’m here’”

Following her retirement from nursing, Nora was asked to become a Trustee of the Montagu Hospital Comforts Fund – that is, someone who volunteers to help raise money for the Comforts Fund charity.

Nora Gill receiving her silver plaque to celebrate 65 years service to the NHS and the Montagu Hospital.

Money raised by The Montagu Hospital Comforts Fund is used solely at Montagu Hospital, providing financial assistance for additional amenities to make up the cost of new services and facilities which cannot be fully covered by the NHS budget.

The money is raised through various means such as the tea shop in the main entrance foyer operated by the Comforts Fund volunteers, charity events, donations and the Mexborough Montagu Hospital Charity Football Cup Committee.

Founded in 1948 The Comforts Fund charity predates the NHS, making it both a historical and beloved component of Montagu Hospital.

In 2009, after the then Chair passed away, Nora was approached by the Trustees and nominated as the replacement. She rose to the challenge and took on the responsibilities of the Chair. Once she found her feet, she thoroughly enjoyed the role and is very proud of the work she and the team of Trustees have done.

One example of this was establishing the connecting corridor between the Fred & Ann Green Rehabilitation Unit into the main hospital, which costed nearly £250,000 to complete.

Even now, as she steps down as Chair, Nora still isn’t fully leaving. She plans to continue her excellent work volunteering as a Trustee member for the Comforts Fund.

Reflecting on her time at the hospital, Nora said: “Montagu Hospital remains a very important place in the Trust. It deserves to be recognised.”

Trust Chief Executive, Richard Parker OBE, said: “Nora is a true testament to the NHS. Her dedication to the Trust for all these years, and specifically to Montagu Hospital, exemplifies the type of hard working, enthusiastic and committed colleagues we work alongside.

“Through the challenges of the Covid pandemic, Nora made the commendable decision to remain at the Trust and Nora’s long-standing commitment to Montagu Hospital deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated.

“Her work as Chair of the Comfort Funds has seen some excellent projects come to fruition and I do not doubt that, as a Trustee, she will remain an asset to Montagu hospital, the Trust and the NHS.

“Thank you for your continued dedication.”