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One of UK’s oldest nurses retires after more than 60 years of service

Colleagues have paid tribute to a school nurse who has retired from Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) after more than 60 years in the profession.

Norma Newcombe, a school nurse who until recently worked at the Hindley Health Centre in Wigan, began her nursing career in the 1950s and retired at the age of 81 at the end of November.

“As a nurse, my main vocation was, and will always be, to care”

Norma Newcombe

She was joined by colleagues past and present, as well as some of the children she has cared for throughout her career, to celebrate her retirement.

She said: “I am both humbled and proud to serve such a wonderful institution founded by Aneurin Bevan, which has serviced our country and its people, enabling them to have a better and healthier quality of life.

“I have worked in a job I love since 1958, including 50 years as a school nurse, and have certainly seen many changes,” she said.

“As a nurse, my main vocation was, and will always be, to care,” she said. “I’ve loved it all, every last road and bend.”

Ms Newcombe became a nurse 65 years ago, after completing her training as a cadet at a hospital for babies in Liverpool. Prior to her retirement, she was one of the country’s oldest practising nurses.

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She worked for WWL for over 50 years, latterly working five days a week at the Hindley Clinic – the place where she began working back in her local community in 1973.

Ms Newcombe said she had now decided it was time for her to retire from her post while she was still fit and active and able to enjoy herself.

She is, however, planning to keep in touch with her schools and do some volunteering with them.

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Sharon Swift, community public health specialist practitioner at the Hindley Clinic, said: “Norma will be missed by all of the 0-19 service, but we certainly wish her well with her next chapter.

“She holds a special place in the hearts of the children and families that she has helped over the years – many for three generations,” she said.

She added: “Norma is a very special part of our school nursing family and is loved by all of the team for her heart of gold and her dedication to the school age population of Wigan.”

Rachel Cheetham, community public health specialist practitioner and 0-19 operational manager for health visiting and school nursing, described Ms Newcombe as “the matriarch of our team”.

“Norma is truly a remarkable woman and has dedicated her life to care for others. I am proud to know her personally and professionally and wish her well on her retirement.”

Rabina Tindale, chief nurse at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh, also paid tribute to Ms Newcombe and her achievements.

She said: “Norma’s commitment to her profession over so many years is astonishing, and we wish her all the best for what sounds like what will be a very active retirement. She will be missed.”

Norma Newcombe with Sharon Swift

Norma Newcombe with Sharon Swift

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