VIDEO: Vic nurse says goodbye after 46 years in the NHS
A nurse at Blackpool Victoria Hospital bid farewell to her colleagues at her retirement party - after 46 years working for the NHS.
Elizabeth Darling, 64, was joined by work friends - old and new - at the bash, which brought the curtain down on her sterling career.
"I feel OK at the moment, but I will see how I feel when I say goodbye on the unit," she said.
"I did get upset earlier as people have been very kind."
Ms Darling began her training at the Vic in 1971, when Sir Edward Heath was still Prime Minister, living in the nurses' quarters until she qualified in 1974.
She started her career in coronary care, which had just five beds, before leaving to work in Leeds as a sister for three years.
While there, she trialled the first hoists for moving patients, while her ward was also the first to scrap nurse’s hats.
Returning to Blackpool as a sister in the cardiothoracic unit, Liz transferred to the gastroenterology department as a senior sister in 1985 before settling in her current role.
She has been a cancer specialist since 2001.
Her replacement Sarah Burchett, who has been a nurse for six years, said: "Nobody can fill Liz's shoes, but I hope to do a good job."
Ms Darling earned just £24 a month when she started work, and previously told how 'things have changed a lot'.“For example, we would never call sisters and staff nurses by their first name,” she said.
“It’s a lot busier now, and there is a lot more paperwork.”
She added: “I’m going to miss the job, but it’s time for me now. I have had some fun over the years and I really love my job, although it can be harrowing at times, especially having to deliver bad news.
“I have a good rapport with both patients and staff, which I will miss, but it is time for somebody else to enjoy the job like I have.
Deputy director of nursing and quality, Simone Anderton, paid tribute to Liz.
She said: “Since I have known Liz she has always impressed me for her extensive experience, knowledge and skills and how she applied this to ensure best care for her patients.
“Liz has been a valuable and well known and loved member of our nursing staff. She is going to be greatly missed not only by her colleagues but her patients too, all of whom she has made a great difference to.”