Landmark birthday for caring ex-nurse

A NURSE who has dedicated her entire life to helping others is celebrating her 90th birthday this weekend. Eileen Collins, who has lived in the area for 68 years, is one of the town s most popular figures. This Saturday, a party will be held in her hono

A NURSE who has dedicated her entire life to helping others is celebrating her 90th birthday this weekend.

Eileen Collins, who has lived in the area for 68 years, is one of the town's most popular figures.

This Saturday, a party will be held in her honour, to celebrate not just an impressive landmark, but also a remarkable life.

She worked as a nurse at the old Potters Bar hospital during World War Two, and only fully retired from work two years ago.


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"When my trusty Volvo ground to a halt, I guessed it was time for me to put away my working shoes!" she said.

Born on February 1, 1919, in County Roscommon, Ireland, Eileen came to England in 1937, at the age of 17, to study nursing.

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She trained in Sussex, before getting a job at Potters Bar hospital, in Mutton Lane, in 1941.

She can remember caring for a number of high profile patients during the war.

"Because of the bombing, surgeons didn't like to operate in London. They moved patients out to what they called the 'country hospitals'," she said.

"Vera Lynn was there, and so was (1930s comedian) Sandy Powell. I was in Sandy Powell's room when a doodlebug bombed a church on Southgate Road."

She left the hospital on August 4, 1979, 38 years to the day that she started.

"My favourite leaving present was the fact that I never had a single complaint," she said.

She continued to work as a carer at Barvin Park, a centre for people with special needs, near Cuffley.

She then worked part-time at residential home Donaldson Lodge, on Manor Road, Potters Bar, before retiring in 2007.

Janet Smith, house manager of Donaldson Lodge, said: "She always used to go beyond the call of duty.

"All the residents loved her, she was so cheerful and you could always rely on her."

Kathleen O'Sullivan, who has been friends with Eileen for 36 years, said: "She has dedicated her life to the sick and elderly. In my opinion, she is the best worker and carer I've ever known."

"She has worked tirelessly throughout her life. She is a shining star.

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