A BRADFORD nurse has hung her uniform up for the last time following more than half a century of service to the NHS.

It was the end of an era on Tuesday as Anne Kennedy, 69, enjoyed her final day as a registered nurse at Bradford Royal Infirmary.

Originally from Essex, Anne’s dream was to become a brass band player - a job, in her words, that was hard to come by for women in the 60s.

So, with the music on hold, she had to go down a different route and decided to follow in the footsteps of her mother.

Anne’s passion to look after ill children began at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital in 1970.

Once qualified, a move up North beckoned. She became a ward sister in the children’s department at St James’s Hospital in Leeds.

In 1978, she moved across to Bradford working in the now redundant Children’s Hospital in Manningham.

A stint as senior sister and then nurse manager happened when the services moved to St Luke’s.

Anne stayed in West Yorkshire but transferred over to Dewsbury in 1990 where she spent 18 years as general manager.

At 55, she had had enough of management and wanted to become a registered nurse once again so has spent her last 14 years on the children’s ward and as a Royal College of Nursing rep.

It is this part of the job that she has enjoyed the most.

Anne said: “My passion for nursing grew and grew the minute I started. It has probably got stronger and stronger.

“I am proud of the profession and live it. That is why the last 14 years as a registered nurse has been the best. It is also about giving something back.

“I had a strange job. I provided the nurses’ response to the staff side of work. Being able to support nurses has been an honour for me. My passion has been using what I have learnt to help nurses.

"I am the voice of the nurses on the groundfloor. Sometimes they have not had a voice as loud as mine.”

Having done something for practically all her life it was hard for Anne to accept retirement at first.

But on reflection, she feels she made the correct decision back in June.

She added: “Once I made that decision, I suddenly realised I was looking forward to it. “It was so hard to stop but I am really glad to stop.

“I just didn’t want to go into my 70s doing it. I needed to just step off and let go.

“I would like to think I have made a difference.

“I have always wanted to influence nursing and I hope I have done that by speaking up for nurses and nursing, that is all I have ever wanted to do.

“I am just thankful I have been able to do that for the last 14 years.”

And her send off: “I am not one for parties. I was just happy to slip off quietly.

“The role I had was effectively trade union steward for the nurses, I interacted with the senior nurses quite a lot.

“One of the matrons asked me to go for a coffee and then every senior nurse turned up to say goodbye, it really surprised me. That was very emotional.”

Anne will now spend her time with her grandchildren and rescue dog, Staffordshire Bull Terrier Sadie, at her Cleckheaton home.

“I always said I wanted a needy dog. My grandchildren didn’t want an old one. “I hope she will keep me busy and fit. I absolutely adore her.

“I took one on with behaviour problems. I am going to be trained up by some lovely people who are going to show me how to manage her.

“She is so challenging and naughty. Normally, children respond to me because I have worked with them my whole life but she just looks at me like she wants me to do one.”

“Now I have finished (nursing), I need a sleep!”