Search

Former nurse tracked down via Facebook to be reunited with cherished keepsake 31 years later

PUBLISHED: 14:00 02 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:03 02 May 2020

L/R: Judith Abbott returned the cloak to Philomena Convery-Moroney 31 years ago she lost it. Picture: JUDITH ABBOTT/PHILOMENA CONVERY-MORONEY

L/R: Judith Abbott returned the cloak to Philomena Convery-Moroney 31 years ago she lost it. Picture: JUDITH ABBOTT/PHILOMENA CONVERY-MORONEY

Archant

A Suffolk woman has been reunited with a cherished keepsake from her nursing days after a fellow health worker tracked her down through Facebook to return it, 31 years after it was lost.

Judtih took the cape home and washed it where it now looks as good as new. Picture: JUDITH ABBOTTJudtih took the cape home and washed it where it now looks as good as new. Picture: JUDITH ABBOTT

Over three decades ago, Philomena Convery-Moroney was working as an auxiliary nurse at the now closed Essex County Hospital in Colchester where during her training she was given a traditional wool nursing cloak.

Years later in 2000, medical secretary Judith Abbott came across a skip at the site where she spotted the cape in perfect condition and felt compelled to ask the hospital matron at the time, Donna Booton, if she could rescue it.

“I don’t have mine anymore, but we were all issued them when we were student nurses,” remembers Mrs Booton, who has recently come out of retirement to join the frontline fight against Covid-19 as site matron at Colchester Hospital.

“They were so beautiful and we used to wear them to keep warm even in the nursing lodgings.

Philomena hadn't seen her cape for more than 30 years. Picture: PHILOMENA CONVERY-MORONEYPhilomena hadn't seen her cape for more than 30 years. Picture: PHILOMENA CONVERY-MORONEY

“Judith was always very good at collecting bits like that and I know a lot of nurses who still hang on to them.”

You may also want to watch:

Mrs Abbott, now 70, said she had been meaning to find the owner of the cloak for many years and decided lockdown was the right time to try,

“I started by searching the initials on the label on Facebook and two people came up so I messaged them both,” she explained.

Donna Booton recently returned to work at Colchester Hospital to help fight the coronavirus crisis. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK AND NORTH ESSEX NHS FOUNDATION TRUSTDonna Booton recently returned to work at Colchester Hospital to help fight the coronavirus crisis. Picture: EAST SUFFOLK AND NORTH ESSEX NHS FOUNDATION TRUST

“One didn’t reply and the other was Philomena – it was such an unusual name I’m sure that’s the only reason I found her.”

While Mrs Convery-Moroney said she was wary at first upon receiving a message from a stranger asking if she had worked at the hospital all those years ago, she was surprised when Mrs Abbott explained what she had found.

The former auxiliary nurse now works in social care and lives in Ipswich, and was moved by the thought of being reunited with the memento.

“We’re going to meet up Judith and I when this is all over,” she said. “It’s just a great story isn’t it, after so many years.”

The two women have forged a new friendship and Mrs Abbott added that her new friend had cried at the news and added: “It brought back so many happy memories for her.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East Anglian Daily Times. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the East Anglian Daily Times