Colleagues and service users at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust have bid farewell to Patti Pitcher - a staff nurse on Avocet Ward at Woodlands, in Ipswich - whose nursing career spanned 40 years.
Starting her career as a cadet nurse at 16 years old, Patti initially worked on the elderly ward Amulree at Ipswich Hospital, whose site is now home to Woodlands.
After completing her general nursing training in Ipswich, Patti worked on the orthopaedic wards at the former Anglesea Hospital before becoming a psychiatric nurse in 1982.
Following a spell as a community psychiatric nurse during the early days of community services, Patti returned to a hospital environment working on acute wards. She spent the next 18 years on Playford - now Avocet - ward, as a night sister or staff nurse.
Patti said: “Night shifts really suited me when the children were small as I was able to take them to school and see them to bed at night, then I slept school hours.
“Over the years, the biggest change I have seen has been the growth of community services.”
Asked what she will miss most, Patti said: “My colleagues and camaraderie, definitely, but I still intend to do the odd shift.”
Now she is semi-retired, Patti will spend more time on craft activities, sewing and looking after the garden at her Felixstowe home. She also plans to travel and spend more time with family and friends.