OBITUARY: Eileen May

EILEEN MAY A PIONEER of the role of nurse practitioner, Eileen May, a former nurse at Huntingdon County Hospital and practice nurse at Godmanchester doctor s surgery in the 1970s, has died aged 83. Working in Godmanchester, she and two doctors treated a l

EILEEN MAY

A PIONEER of the role of nurse practitioner, Eileen May, a former nurse at Huntingdon County Hospital and practice nurse at Godmanchester doctor's surgery in the 1970s, has died aged 83.

Working in Godmanchester, she and two doctors treated a list of 7,000 patients between them, with Mrs May, who lived in Sawtry, even visiting the chronically sick in her lunch break.

Dr Keith Stewart, a former colleague, paid tribute to her, saying: "She was truly a nurse practitioner before we had ever heard the phrase."


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He added: "She seemed to be able to turn her hand to any medical task and get it right first time. I bear the scar from the chisel cut that I thought I would stitch myself, but had to ask her to do for me as I had become green around the gills at the thought.

"Eileen would keep the lid on the workload, even when we had nearly 7,000 patients between two doctors. She saw the lion's share of the walking sick and wounded - and she visited the chronically sick in her lunch break.

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"Countless women have her to thank for introducing them to regular cervical smears in a gentle and business-like way and I well remember the Monday afternoon gynae clinics that we did together. She was much loved by all."

Her son, Peter, 55, said: "Nursing was her passion and her calling. She felt people should care for each other and that is why she made a profession of caring. Nursing sick people and making them better was a craft to her. She had a natural instinct for nursing and being calm when under pressure. Her mother had been a nurse and she was the eldest daughter."

Born Eileen Murphy in Shropshire, she started her nurse training aged 17 in Wigan. In 1940 she met her husband, Bob, a trainee airman. Eileen worked through the blitz at St Chad's Hospital in Birmingham. When she died on March 1, the couple had been married for 61 years.

Their son Peter was born in Egypt in 1951. When Bob was posted to RAF Wyton in 1964, Eileen became a staff nurse at Huntingdon County Hospital and worked there for five years.

As well as Bob and Peter, Mrs May leaves two grandchildren, Josie, 16, and Tommy, 14. Mrs May was diagnosed with bowel cancer this year. She survived surgery but then developed an embolism. She died at home in Sawtry on March 1. Her ashes are to be taken to Shropshire.

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