An auxiliary nurse who has helped to bring hundreds of babies into the world is retiring after 44 years.
Linda Sumner, who has helped a second generation of mothers to give birth at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, completed her final shift on Tuesday.
Mrs Sumner, who lives in Walpole Cross Keys, was taken on as a nursing auxiliary in 1972 when she began working in the former Maternity Hospital, which is now the Fermoy Unit, before later moving into the current building.
She said: “It has been a tremendous privilege to see all of those babies come into the world. I still really enjoy the job, especially the interaction and helping the new mums. I am going to miss my job and my colleagues. It is going to be a big wrench for me to leave but I think now is the right time as I have so much I would like to do.”
Mrs Sumner started work six weeks before the former Maternity Hospital opened and helped to set up the delivery rooms. She took a break in 1973 to have her third child and returned in 1975.
She said: “I think being a mum was a good background and I have always been the sort of person who likes to help others.”
“I have seen a number of changes over the years,” she added.
“Fathers were not allowed into the delivery room when I started, but now they are. I think this is one of the most important changes I have seen as they feel, and are, much more involved now, it means they can bond with their baby immediately.”
She said she was also happy to have seen the opening of the hospital’s Waterlily Birthing unit.
Mrs Sumner is looking forward to spending more time with her family and has big plans for her retirement.
She is a member of the King’s Lynn Rock Choir, which will be performing at the hospital’s open day on Sunday, and has also taken up Salsa dancing. She also hopes to join the Royal Horticulture Society.
The hospital’s director of nursing, Catherine Morgan, said: “I would like to wish Linda a very happy retirement and thank her for her dedication over the years. She has been a reassuring presence in the delivery suite and has helped countless new mothers and their babies.”