Nurse from Six­ties snap tracked down ahead of ex­hi­bi­tion

WORK OF AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPH­ER TO FORM DIS­PLAY

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By NEAL KEELING [email protected]­plc.com @Neal­keel­ingMEN

THE pic­ture cap­tured Christ­mas 1967 – and the mood of op­ti­mism in the coun­try.

Four nurses posed at Park Hos­pi­tal, now Traf­ford Gen­eral, the birth place of the NHS.

It was, in the words of one of the women, ‘a very good time of life.’

The Bea­tles were at Num­ber One with Hello, Good­bye; and their ‘mate’ Harold Wil­son was in Num­ber Ten.

Eng­land was still bask­ing in the suc­cess of the 1966 World Cup.

The won­der­ful im­age was taken by gifted amateur photograph­er, Ge­orge Shep­herd, who this year gained huge recog­ni­tion af­ter his daugh­ter, Angie Shep­herd, col­lected 1,000 photo neg­a­tives from his home.

They had gath­ered dust for 50 years and were in an Asda shop­ping bag, about to be put in the bin.

She painstak­ingly checked each one, and dis­cov­ered a lost time, cap­tured for­ever by her fa­ther.

In Oc­to­ber the M.E.N. pub­lished the pic­ture of the nurses in a bid to trace them, as Ge­orge pre­sented a print of it to the hos­pi­tal to be dis­played along­side those from 1940s, the time when Park be­came the coun­try’s first NHS hos­pi­tal.

Now, one of the nurses has been found.

Marie Hoo­son (for­merly Marie Far­rell), now 80, who still lives in Urm­ston, saw the pub­lished ar­ti­cle.

“I saw the pic­ture and thought the face of the blonde girl looked fa­mil­iar, and then I thought ‘I know the other two nurses as well,’ re­call­ing one was called Myr­lene Wil­loughby.

“Then, fi­nally, I re­alised the other nurse was me! I didn’t recog­nise my­self. It was more re­laxed on the wards in those days and I re­mem­ber the pic­ture be­ing taken – that would never hap­pen now.

“We were all trainee nurses. “The blonde nurse was Welsh and I don’t know what hap­pened to her.

“The other two nurses were from Bar­ba­dos and I think they even­tu­ally left for posts in Lon­don where they had fam­ily.”

“The at­mos­phere at Park Hos­pi­tal was al­ways good”, Marie added.

“The pres­sure on the NHS was not like it is now. I re­mem­ber The Bea­tles be­ing on top of the charts. “It was a very good time of life. “The fu­ture was full of pos­si­bil­i­ties. I have no re­grets.”

Marie, who was born in Dublin and moved to Eng­land aged 17, was 28 when the photo was taken.

In the years since, Marie went on to marry Alan Hoo­son and have two daugh­ters, Brenda and Va­lerie, four grand­chil­dren, and two great­grand­chil­dren.

“I started a dy­nasty”, she said. “I worked in the NHS for five years, and then as an oc­cu­pa­tional health nurse for a com­pany in Traf­ford Park un­til I re­tired 20 years ago.

“One of my daugh­ters be­came a nurse and one of my grandaugh­ters,

Pamela, has just got a job as a ward sis­ter at Wi­gan.

“I would never have met Alan if it was not for Park Hos­pi­tal.

“In 1969 some­one was hav­ing a party in the nurses home.

“I didn’t live in the nurses halls but we had a break at work and I thought I would take a peep at the party, and that is where I met my hus­band.”

Eighty of Ge­orge’s pic­tures, doc­u­ment­ing work­ing class life in the six­ties, were dis­played in the tiny Ec­cles Com­mu­nity Gallery in May.

Nearly 1,800 peo­ple went to see them af­ter they were fea­tured in the M.E.N.

The re­sponse from the public was so pos­i­tive an ex­hi­bi­tion of more of the pho­tos will go on dis­play at Sal­ford Mu­seum and Art Gallery on The Cres­cent from De­cem­ber 12, 2020 un­til April 2021.

An­gela Shep­herd, the driv­ing force be­hind the images’ recog­ni­tion, said of the nurses’ pic­ture: “My mother, June, spent Christ­mas 1967 in Park Hos­pi­tal.

“She was three months preg­nant with me and had a slipped disc.

“They put her on trac­tion – not sure they would do that nowa­days.

“My dad took the photo of the nurses who looked af­ter my mum dur­ing her hos­pi­tal stay.

“It was one of the neg­a­tives I found in my dad’s back cat­a­logue and has never seen the light of day un­til now.”

The nurses snapped in 1967 at Traf­ford Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal – then Park Hos­pi­tal – and, be­low, Marie Hoo­son today

Po­lice ar­rive at the scene

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