Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Christine Crooks nee Clarke a Volunteer at MHH during 1981-82

I’ve just been looking at your website, I had been talking to a friend on Facebook about when I used to live and work as a volunteer at Marguerite Hepton Hospital and it prompted me to go and look online to see if there was anything about the hospital and I came across your site.

I was there from September 1981 until January 1982, then moved back to the North East. I really enjoyed my time there; I still have a couple of photos of me with some of the nurses there.

Maureen, Eve, Christine, unknown

Maureen, Eve, Chris Weightman, unknown

I’ve been able to remember some of the staff though mostly just 1st names, the nurses I can remember are:-

Christine Weightman (know as big Chris and I was little Chris!! probably sounded better than old and young Chris)

Carol Drake

Pam (possibly Monks)




I think Sister was called Woof!! For some reason that name is springing to mind but cant be 100% sure and I can remember Jerry Appleyard.

One of the domestics was Eve but can’t think of the other ones name.

We always used to be on the same shifts together all the time, so can’t remember any of the nurses who worked the times we were not there as we used to just see each other at change over time.

The other volunteer was called Carol she arrived a couple of days after me, she was from Durham.

I have had another look at the plans on the website and by time I worked there ward 3/4 was the women's ward and ward 1 was men's.

Next to the hospital was a home/school which I think was for bad boys, plus a bit further down on the other side of the road was an open prison.

Her is a bit on how I ended up at MHH

I left school in April 1981 and saw an advert on tv for community service volunteers, so I got in touch with them and went for an interview and discussed what sort of work I would like to do, they then found a place for you to go and work, and I got to go to Marguerite Hepton Hospital.

I started in Sept 1981, I had arrived there on a Friday feeling bit nervous at the thought of starting my 1st job and living away from home, I needn't of worried though as everyone made me welcome, especially Chris Weightman, who the 1st weekend I was there took me to stay at her house so I wouldn’t be at the nurses home all by myself as Carol wasn’t arriving until the Monday (there was only me and carol and one other person who lived there but the weekend I arrived the other person was away for the weekend)

The plan when I got there on the Friday was to be shown around, have the weekend to settle in them start work on the Monday. I got picked up from Wetherby bus station and taken to the hospital; they showed me around etc and met those I would be working with. As I was there first they asked if I wanted to be on the women’s or men’s ward, I opted for the women’s as we had spent more time looking around and talking to staff there (though I did end up occasionally helping on the men’s ward if they were short staffed). I was left on women’s ward to chat to staff and they said rather than me being alone on the weekend did I want to go in and help out to give me something to do which I did as I think it would of been awful being by myself in nurses home all weekend.

I loved it straight away, staff and patients were great, though they had a job at first understanding my geordie accent!! Most of the patients were old people but we did used to get a few young ones in. As the patients were sent from St James to recover from ops etc they were usually with us quite a while, so even though we were pleased when they were finally discharged it was still sad to see them go. I wrote to one of the patients for a few years after I left then I got a letter from her daughter to say she had died.

The types of jobs my volunteering entailed were

make the beds,

feed the patients if they needed help,

assist patients to toilet

help with bathing patients in bathroom also with bed baths

help staff when changing dressings.

I also used to do some shopping for the patients in Wetherby on my days off.

I’ve found one photo of me in the grounds at the back and you can see the same wooden toy in the background that is in one of the photos on your site!

Pity I didn’t have any more photos of the actual buildings, I saw the photo of the nurses home and saw my old bedroom, it was the end room on the right on the top floor, I think the photo of me and Carol was taken at the doors of nurses home. (Christine is in the cloak)

I really enjoyed my few months at the hospital, my placement there was only for 6-12 months but I left early because my mother was unwell so had to go back home to Northumberland.

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