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