Cecilia Mary Tryers, 1945 -2011
I recall clearly, Celia writing the tribute to the late Joan V. Roberts, little knowing that there was so little time left for her. Cecilia Mary Tryers sadly died of metastatic inflammatory breast cancer on the 29th of June 2011 – she was a bright, irrepressible light, the world is a darker place for all those who knew and cared for her.
Generosity and faithfulness – loyalty, constancy, truth, boundless common sense were inherent in her – they were part of who she was; part of her profound belief in God and her love and compassion towards her fellow beings. It was the core of her nursing practice and sustained her during her long and successful nursing career. Celia was an inspirational nurse to those with whom she worked.
Celia was special – she was my dearest friend and my partner for nearly thirty years. Her fortitude and courage in the face of her devastating illness was humbling – the effects of her illness cannot be underestimated, but she carried on regardless. It was privilege to care for her and a privilege for this consultant to become a nurse‘s handmaiden!. Celia was a happy person and her contentment and zest for life was infectious to all. She had a true sense of fun, the warm smile was ever present and she was a born communicator – her interpersonal skills were highly tuned, and this together with her mastery of the one liner, often diffused potentially difficult situations.
Celia was born in Broadgreen Hospital on the 20th December 1945. She was proud of her City with its colourful history, its music and its sport and the legendary wit and humour of its residents amply exhibited by the lady herself. Whilst at the Mabel Fletcher College of Education, she realised she wanted to nurse, and as she was not yet 18, entered Broadgreen Hospital as a cadet nurse and commenced her training in 1964. For Celia , the commencement of her nursing career was comparable to a fragile fledgling realising it can fly – in nursing Celia discovered that not only had she the natural ability to nurse but the ability to do it very well. So she began to fly, and gradually she soared to the heights of her chosen profession.
Celia became a State Registered Nurse in 1967 and started her career as a staff nurse and four years later was a sister in Orthopaedic surgery. Her progress continued and in 1973 she entered district nurse training, obtained the gold medal and subsequently worked as a district nursing sister.
For Celia it was not all work and no play – she liked folk music and in the late 60’s there was a great boom in folk music in Liverpool, and with three friends set up their own folk club. The hard working nurse became the treasurer and over the next few years met many now well known artists, and was very involved in providing hospitality, albeit on occasions it was a floor to spend the night on, with an early breakfast before she went to work! Barbara Dixon, Jimmy McGregor and Jasper Carrot were but a few – Celia’s warmth and sense of fun was much in evidence, as was her ability to mimic and her life long love of dancing. However making bacon and eggs for the Jewish Jasper Carrot was not her finest hour.
In 1975 she returned to hospital nursing, as a night sister at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary, Celia received and kept the famous frilly, a la Miss Nightingale. Promotion followed to a nursing officer in Orthopaedic surgery and she transferred with her Unit to the Royal Liverpool Hospital, the first beds to be occupied in the new hospital. In 1983 she secured one of two senior nurse training posts at the Liverpool Health Authority. Celia found herself involved in multiple operational activities relating to hospital and community care, which helped formulate the consummate chief nurse and effective senior manager she was to become.
In her role at the LHA she was responsible for the planning and implementation of nursing services for the care of the terminally ill in both hospitals and the community. As a Chief Nurse she continued to develop services by introducing Macmillan nursing services into the hospital units. It is thus surprising that when she became very ill in the last four months of life she refused services, always with a smile – we are managing fine!
In 1987, she was appointed the Director of Nursing and Patient services at Broadgreen Hospital. Celia had returned to her parent hospital where she had trained and she was happy and excited. She embarked on her challenging role at a time of significant changes in the Health Service and was closely involved in the application of the Hospital as a first wave Trust, and involved in the planning of the separation of a third of the unit to form the Cardio Thoracic Centre, little thinking she too would eventually follow.
It was a special moment for her when she was appointed an Honorary Lecturer in the Nursing department of Liverpool University, reflecting her commitment to teaching. Excellence is inseparable from education and Celia’s contributions were many. She was proud of her creation of clinical nurse specialists, initially to take over patient admission clerking, but soon expanding the clinical nurse specialist model into other areas of specific nursing expertise.
Celia always retained an undiminished passion for good bedside nursing – she was ever the Patients’ nurse. Complementary to this was her intimate understanding of the needs and challenges faced by her staff, and she worked closely with her senior nursing colleagues to ensure that her finger was on the pulse of ward nursing. It was not always to the comfort of staff but they all knew that whilst she might sit in the Boardroom, her sharp sense of observation meant that she was never far away from events on the front line.
“I scatter not dust
But memories, of sharing
Love, a pillowed head;
Fear, a severed breast;
Two lives enraptured.”
May the peace and presence of God be always with you. A thangnefydd a phresenoldeb Duw i’r gyda chi, Celia
M. GILLIAN MALSTER,
Retired Consultant Physician in Geriatric Medicine House Officer Liverpool Royal Infirmary 1970.
Mary Rainger nee Bardin PTS April 59
Mary passed away on 6th November after a short illness. She was active on her allotment until a short time before her death. We will miss her greatly. She only retired from nursing seven years ago.From her younger sister. Flo Blundell nee Bardin.
Lesley Robertson 1931 -2016
Delivered by Noel Kent at her Memorial Service in the Chapel at RLUBHT.
On behalf of Les’s family I would like to thank you all for being here today as we remember and give thanks for the life of Les. I would like especially to mention those of her friends and family who are too frail or too far away to be here today. I am sure that their thoughts and prayers will be with us and Les today. Les I suspect would be bemused by today as her instructions were to keep things simple and not make a fuss. This was so typical of her, she was so much more interested in everyone else and not in herself. I think she would have had a chuckle seeing me standing here in a suit, I am not sure that she had ever seen me in my finery.
Les was a very special person in our family, and I know that I speak for my cousins today. She not only was an aunt, but a friend ,a surrogate mother and a granny combined. She was the glue that kept us all together, she knew all the Rorkes and Robertsons and more importantly kept in touch with them and as a result kept us up to date as to who was doing what.
Les was born in Bulawayo in September 1931 the second of four girls who were collectively known as the “Robbie Girls”. She was educated in Luanshya and Bulawayo and after school she entered the nursing profession. She trained in Bulawayo and then moved to Nairobi and then on to the UK. She was very good at what she did and rose through the ranks to become Regional Nursing Officer where she was responsible for the planning, implementation and running of the new Liverpool Royal Infirmary . This mega hospital was built and entailed the closure of seven other hospitals and their amalgamation into one. Last week the Catholic Bishop of Liverpool phoned and after offering his condolences told us how highly thought of Les was. I quote ” she was full of integrity and was greatly respected” and ” I thoroughly enjoyed working with her”. He will be holding a memorial service for Les in the hospital chapel in September. Les and Bishop Tom were instrumental in the establishment of the chapel as part of the hospital.
In the mid 1980s Les moved to Saudi Arabia and then on to El Ain and her final working years were in Nairobi before retiring to the Cape.
Les loved to travel and every year she would spend two weeks in some exotic place and then a month over Christmas with her family in Africa . Les went to Turkey, China, Malaysia, Morocco, Indonesia, Jordan, Egypt, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand just to mention a few. And boy did she take photos, boxes and boxes of them. Les is the reason why my family are so camera shy. Every time you looked up there was a lens pointing at you. When I was younger on the farm, we had to clean up, change our clothes, brush our hair and put shoes on for Les’s annual photo for her rogues gallery. Although Les spent most of her working life abroad she considered Africa her home. She loved Kenya, on safari with her special friends there, Zimbabwe where she grew up and had a myriad of relatives and the Cape where she had holidayed as a girl, where her parents had retired and where Zeta lived. Les was proud to be South African having renounced her British citizenship. It was always a good way to wind her up by telling her I was an ABSA supporter,” Anyone But South Africa.”
My earliest memory of Les was of this glamorous, fashionable, jet setting bearer of gifts my more interesting than my mother or aunts. Near to our birthdays and Christmas we would eagerly wait for that card and parcel with that distinctive tell tale writing in blue fountain pen. They always arrived on time and were chosen with great care, the latest ‘ in thing’ in the UK, be it a yoyo or T shirts or whatever. In sanctions affected backward Rhodesia we were trendy thanks to Les.
Les made very close friends all over the world and was a great correspondent. She must have spent a fortune on phone bills in her life time. She loved having her friends to stay and show them her special places. She was wonderful with my children when they stayed with her. Les like all the Robertsons liked to entertain. Entertain meant mountains of food. The fun was in the planning, procurement and preparation. Some of her offerings were legendary, her fruit cakes and tipsy tarts were notorious for the amount of alcohol in them. You didn’t want to be breathalysed after eating her pudding. Like her sisters she had an obsession with ‘padkos’, you never went anywhere without huge supplies. My children went to watch cricket at Newlands with a whole roast chicken.
Les had a great sense of humour. When she was in her forties I started calling her my geriatric aunt, which she loved. Sadly in time this became true. Jacquie and I were fortunate enough to spend a week with her here in Cape Town in March and it was very special to us. Les was tired, worried about losing her independence and starting to lose her love of life. Whilst we will all really miss her we are glad that she never truly lost her independence, or suffered the indignity of ill health and decline.
On the wall in Les’s office we found this quote which I think really summed up her life.
” She has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and love much, who has gained the respect of intelligent people and the love of little children. Who has filled her niche and accomplished her task and has left the world better than she found it.” As her friend Ted said to me in June ” That Lesley, she’s a damn fine woman”.
I would like to conclude by thanking Basil, Martin, Shireen and especially Michelle for the love and care they gave Les for so many years. Thank you.