Nazerone (Neddie) Howells arrived in the UK from Trinidad to train as a nurse at Cross Houses Hospital near Shrewsbury. After living a life of dedicated service to the NHS spanning 40 plus years; she talks to her lifetime friend and fellow retired nurse Veronica Bland about her career and life in the UK.
I was born, brought up and educated on the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean
When did you arrive in UK and how old were you?
I arrived here in March 1966 and I had just turned 22. I came by boat and it took me 2 weeks to get here.
What prompted you to make this massive move to another country?
I had an aunt living here who was a nurse at the hospital in Cross Houses near Shrewsbury.
What were your first impressions of our country?
I thought that it was lovely……a complete contrast to the Caribbean. The weather took a bit of getting used to. I liked the fact that the town of Shrewsbury wasn’t too big, and it was surrounded by countryside. I can remember thinking that it would be a nice place to rear children if I was lucky enough to have them.
How did you settle in to your new career?
I found it very hard work, and I also found the discipline very hard, both when on and off duty. The ward sisters and the matron were very strict……you even had to in at 10pm even after a night out!!!! The duties were very long, and I used to get very tired. I had some good friends who were also from the Caribbean, but I also found the British girls very friendly.
How did you settle down to life over here?
Well, even though I had left a young man who I had been seeing for a couple of years at home, I met my husband over here when I agreed to go on a blind date. We married as soon as I qualified as a State Enrolled Nurse as in those days we were not allowed to marry whilst still a student.
We had two sons and a daughter who are all grown up now. A few years ago, my husband sadly died, and after some time I returned to Trinidad only to find that Peter my boyfriend from all those years ago had waited for me, and we had two very happy years together before he, too passed away.
How did your career progress?
After 2 years I qualified as a State Enrolled Nurse and in the mid-90s I did the Conversion Course to be a State Registered Nurse. I worked throughout my married life, much of the time doing night duty to fit in with rearing our children. I worked at The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the world-famous Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopedic Hospital in Oswestry, Shropshire. I have had British Citizenship for many years and now live alone in the house where John and I reared our family.
Well, thank you, Neddie, it has been a pleasure and a privilege to interview you, and as a nation and lifetime we appreciate the contribution that you and people like you have made to our NHS.