Staff and volunteers mark 70 years of NHS at Northampton General Hospital

As the NHS turns 70 today the Chronicle & Echo celebrates some of Northampton General Hospital's longest-serving employees.

Thursday, 5th July 2018, 12:26 pm
Updated Monday, 16th July 2018, 5:09 pm
Pictured: Andrew Beswick. Photo credit: Northampton General Hospital Insight Magazine.
Pictured: Andrew Beswick. Photo credit: Northampton General Hospital Insight Magazine.

With a combined length of service of 124 years, workers and volunteers at NGH, Andrew Beswick, Celia Penn, Tony O’Donovan and Caroline Paviour, tell of how much NGH has changed since they started their careers and voluntary roles, and how they envisage life at the NHS in another 10 years’ time.

In a series of Q&As, staff reveal how what they like most about working for the hospital and their high hopes for the future.

Andrew Beswick joined NGH in 1977 as a porter in the radiotherapy department. He’s now a cardiology specialist nurse.

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Pictured: Celia Penn. Photo credit: Northampton General Hospital Insight Magazine.

Do you remember your first day?

He said: "I arrived at about 7:45am and parked my motorcycle outside the board room. Mr Jim Woodhams, deputy head porter, took me down to radiotherapy, gave me my grey porter’s coat, and informed me of my duties.

"I was nervous as I was 17-and-a-half, I’d only left school the week before and now was entering the big wide world. It was scary meeting all these grown up serious people. I was quiet, reserved and did as I was told. By 8.30am I was cleaning the toilets. My other duties were bringing patients to and from radiotherapy from the wards.

What is your favourite part of working for NGH?

Pictured: Tony O'Donovan. Photo credit: Northampton General Hospital Insight Magazine.

"Seeing the hospital develop over the past 40 years. Particularly seeing the cardiac department develop from a four bedded side ward on Compton ward to an interventions heart centre, cardiology ward and associated cardiology departments. It’s amazing thinking about how it has changed."

Celia Penn started as a volunteer in 1999 working in the shops near the Barratt maternity home and on Hospital Street. She now volunteers on the South Entrance reception desk as writes her monthly quiz.

Celia started a monthly quiz 16 years ago to raise funds for different parts of the hospital and has raised an estimated £20,000 for the Northamptonshire Health Charitable Fund.

What changes have you seen during your 19 years at NGH?

Pictured: Caroline Paviour. Photo credit: Northampton General Hospital Insight Magazine.

She said: "When I was a child the hospital was very small so to see the hospital expand and change to the size it is now is incredible. I’ve made a lot of friends here and I enjoy coming in and meeting people.

What do you think NGH will be like in 10 years’ time?

"I think that the hospital will continue to grow and that there will be more fantastic improvements. I want to continue volunteering and keep saying thank you to the people who have saved my life and helped my family throughout my life."

Tony O'Donovan started working for NGH in August 1978 as an assisting building supervisor - he’s now the capital projects manager

What changes have you seen during your time at NGH?

He said: "Throughout my time I’ve seen constant changes to the site. One of my first tasks was on the commissioning of what we called phase one.

"This was the construction of the theatres, ITU, CCU and some of the newer wards. The site is built in a sequential order and these projects were numbers 40/41/42 and we’re now on 87 so I’ve probably been involved in and seen half of the hospital being built... if not more!

What is your favourite thing about working at NGH?

"Without a doubt it’s the people and the camaraderie across the hospital. At any level there are optimistic, loyal people who go the extra mile and get things done.

"We all have a laugh and it’s always fun and we’re all here for the same purpose."

Caroline Pavier joined NGH in 1994 as a part-time bank admin assistant for administrative affairs. She’s now the claims manager in governance.

Do you remember your first day?

She said: “I was very apprehensive as I was returning to work post children after a four year break from admin work.

"I enrolled on a keyboard course before starting so I wouldn’t be too rusty. I remember thinking that I would never remember all the different departments and who was who. I also remember my husband picking me up that first day and asking: “how did it go?" – I replied: "I think I got away with it.

Where do you see NGH in 10 years’ time?

"Still doing great things for patients but hopefully, with more resources."