Daily Express

Twins end their 2-day retirement to help the NHS fight pandemic

- By Giles Sheldrick Chief Reporter

DEDICATED twins Carole and Lynda Heather enjoyed one of the world’s shortest retirement­s before returning to the NHS front line to help fight coronaviru­s.

The 59-year-old ward sister siblings called it a day after a combined 83 years on May 8 – but were back at work just two days later.

After enjoying a career in nursing totalling almost 42 years each – and never having a day off sick – the pair are now part of a growing NHS temporary workforce helping the fight against Covid-19.

Lynda said: “It just seemed too soon to retire, so I came back. We’ve had to deal with various crises before but this has been the most challengin­g.”

Carole, who returned to an acute medical unit treating Covid-19 patients, added: “I realised I was too young to retire. It’s the best job in the world, most of the time.


“It has its ups and downs, of course, but I wouldn’t do anything else.”

Each sister currently works three 11-and-a-half hour shifts each week at Eastbourne District General Hospital but their selflessne­ss continues outside of work, as volunteers with St John Ambulance.

Today they will be feted as heroes as the NHS celebrates Internatio­nal Nurses’ Day.

Thousands of former nurses like them have come out of retirement to help the NHS during the gravest public health emergency in its history.

Tributes will be held across the nation, along with celebratio­ns to mark the 200th birthday of the most famous nurse of them all – Florence Nightingal­e.

An image of the “lady with the lamp” will be projected on to her old workplace, St Thomas’ Hospital, in London, tonight. It was there, in 1860, she founded the first profession­al nursing school, and Nightingal­e nurses trained there until 1996.

It was also the hospital where Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taken after a near-death brush with coronaviru­s before being nursed back to health.

It is something the Royal College of Nursing hopes the Government will not forget.

Chief executive Dame Donna Kinnair said: “Public support has been almost deafening in recent weeks.

“But fundamenta­l change is long overdue and, with public support, we will make sure the Government does not forget the profession­alism demonstrat­ed by all nursing staff during this pandemic.”

Ruth May, chief nursing officer for England, is also urging everyone to shine a light from their homes at 8.30pm to celebrate the efforts of her colleagues.

She said: “I know how much the public’s support has buoyed my colleagues during this testing time.

“It would mean a great deal if people once again showed their gratitude by shining a light for nurses today.”

Game Of Thrones’ actor and Royal College of Nursing ambassador Emilia Clarke has also recorded a recital of Michael Rosen’s poem, These Are The Hands – written for the 60th anniversar­y of the NHS in 2008.

She said: “The beautiful poem reveals just some of the reasons nursing staff are so well respected.”

 ??  ?? Super sisters... Carole and Lynda Heather pictured as inseparabl­e children and in their 42-year careers dedicated to nursing and St John Ambulance service
Super sisters... Carole and Lynda Heather pictured as inseparabl­e children and in their 42-year careers dedicated to nursing and St John Ambulance service

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