Executive Committee

Profiles of senior members of the Executive Committee of the RLH League of Nurses

Cath Comley
President of The Royal London Hospital League of Nurses

I trained as a registered nurse at the Royal London Hospital between 1990 – 1993. This training gave me experience in both the hospital and community settings. When I qualified I worked as a Staff Nurse on both neurosurgical wards at RLH Royal and Sophia.

In 1998 I headed north, gaining experience in a variety of clinical nursing posts within the NHS, including bed management and senior sister on a surgical ward.  At present I am working with the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) based in Stockport - responsible for planned care and cancer commissioning.

I joined the RLHLoN in 2010 and it is with great pride that I took on the role of President in 2017.  I now share my time between the Royal London Hospital League of Nurses and the CCG.

My interests include studying the World Wars especially the 1914-18 conflict and specifically, the development of military nursing/medical services.

In my spare time I enjoy the beautiful Peak District where I may be found walking with Daisy, my border collie.

Pat Langstone
Deputy President

I was a member of Set 432 during my training as a nurse at The London Hospital, and when I qualified I staffed on a female medical ward. I then went to the Royal Marsden Hospital to gain an Oncology Nursing Certificate , but the pull of ‘The London’ was too strong and I returned to work as  in the Accident and Emergency Department, first as a Staff Nurse and then after a spell as a relief Sister I became a permanent Sister in that same department. I went on to become a Clinical Teacher in the Princess Alexandra School of Nursing, after which I joined the newly formed Macmillan Palliative Care team. I retired in 2000. Travel, reading and visiting art galleries occupy my leisure time. Rafting the Grand Canyon, ‘outback’ camping in the Serengeti Safari Park and a trekking holiday in Nepal have been some of the highlights.  

Trudy Wood
Vice President

I trained at The London from 1958 to 1961, and after qualifying, became a staff nurse on Croft Ward. I went onto study midwifery at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital, which was then located in Hammersmith. Following this, I returned to The London as a relief sister which very quickly led onto my being offered my own ward, becoming Sister Turner from 1963-1967, and then until 1970, I was a sister in Fielden House, the private wing. My next move was to St Bartholomew’s Hospital, where I spent three years as the Night Superintendent.

After that, I was seconded to do the nurse tutors training course and worked at the School of Nursing. I then moved to the Kings Fund and Guy’s Hospital where I was involved with training ward sisters. It was now back to management, firstly as Director of Nursing at St Marks, then Hillingdon hospitals. Finally I returned to The Royal London as the Director of Nursing, and became the President of The League of Nurses for almost 20 years, a post I felt very privileged to hold.

In retirement I served as a trustee of a local hospice, and to relax I belong to an arts and ceramic society.

Anne Gee
Vice President

I arrived at The London on 31st December 1956, and remember finding it hard to sleep, with the boats on the river sounding their sirens at midnight, to mark the arrival of the New Year. The next day we started our training at Tredegar House. I recall the hospital then still showing signs of being bombed in the 2nd World War. Currie Ward, for female orthopaedic patients was my first ward as a student, and then I was a staff nurse on Talbot Ward, which was mixed surgical at that time.

I specialised in Midwifery completing my training first in Bristol, and then Luton where I stayed, becoming a community midwife, within an area which had a great mix of ethnicities. I later became a Senior Nursing Officer for Community Midwifery, and then managed the School of Radiography and training of Operating Department assistants. Various other posts included Head of Midwifery, Nurse Advisor to the Trust, and Clinical Director for Gynaecology and Maternity.

Since then I have travelled, been a Justice of the Peace and a Chairman of the Bench, as well as enjoying spending time visiting family and friends.

I have been a League member since I finished my training, and for nearly twenty years after my retirement, I have edited the annual Royal London Hospital League of Nurses Review.

Jane Reeves
Vice President

I began my training at The London Hospital in 1957. Once I had qualified, I staffed on David Hughes, one of the children’s wards, completed my midwifery training at Mile End, and then staffed again, this time on Coates, a medical ward. I was then offered a Sister’s post on Currie Ward which during the time I was there focused on arterial surgery. During those years I also completed a Diploma in Nursing. After a break when I had my children I did a ‘Back to Nursing’ course, and returned to work as a Staff Nurse on Cotton Ward. Back in those days working part-time as a sister was not possible, so this was the only way I could remain employed as a nurse.

At this point I became involved in the new initiative for training auxiliary nurses and later health care assistants. As an NVQ trainer/assessor I was part of the group that trained numerous students across the East End of London. I gained an education diploma at Poplar College, became freelance and oversaw the training and development department in this way.  Working up through the levels of NVQ, several of the students were able to carry on and train as a nurse. When I retired I joined The League and became Secretary for several years, making many good friends in the process.

Jan Rice
Honorary Secretary and Honorary Membership Secretary

I trained The London in 1980 and was in set 464.  I am very proud to have been Sister on Mary, mainly dealing with cardiothoracic and dermatology patients. At the time it was the largest ward in the hospital. Following the birth of my son Owen, I moved to a role which had more convenient hours in the College of Nursing, undertaking Recruitment and Careers Advice.  I moved into more senior management roles and at the end of my full-time working life I was a Matron/Head of Clinical Services within Spire Healthcare.  I now work 3 days a week at Southend Hospital as the Cardiology Documentation Manager, and am planning on retiring in 2022.

I was born at The London, and before commencing my nurse training, I worked at the hospital in various departments as a bank clerical officer. While in the maternity office I came across, to my delight and surprise, a record of my birth “Baby Waller – born 19 February 1956”. In the Cardiology Department, I had the chance to see some open-heart surgery and it was there that I made the decision to become a nurse. My family all came from the East End of London. One Great-Grandfather had a tailor’s shop in the hospital grounds, and his daughter, my nan, could remember going to the hospital kitchen with a bowl, and being given beef dripping from the roast dinners.

I live in East Hanningfield in Essex with my partner Mark and our two border terriers, Branston and Crunchie. My hobbies are gardening, walking the dogs and meeting friends.

Gary Caughey
Treasurer

I trained at the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh and staffed there for a year when I qualified. I came to the Royal London in 1997. I staffed on Harrison and Charrington wards which were elective and trauma orthopaedic surgery. I was then charge nurse on Mary Ward, which was formed when Spencer Ward at Mile End Hospital and Harrison Ward merged to become Trauma Orthopaedic and Plastic Surgery. I spent time in the orthopaedic fracture clinic, and spent 12 years in pharmacy as the Lead Nurse for Medicines Management. In March 2020 I moved to Occupational Health as the senior nurse. I have been on The League committee as a current member of staff and then became Treasurer, a post I have held for 7 years. Travelling the world is my main passion outside of work. The League supported me to travel to Rio de Janeiro with Save the Children to run health clinics in the favelas.

 

           

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