Nursing ‘angel’ Betty retires 
after 55 years

Betty pictured in 1959 in her first year at Ards Hospital.INBM50-13 Betty 1
Betty pictured in 1959 in her first year at Ards Hospital.INBM50-13 Betty 1

A former Armoy woman, who has devoted all her working life to the nursing profession as well as raising money for charity, has retired.

Betty Calvert, formerly Laverty, spent 55 years nursing, the last eleven spent at the Cornfield Care Centre in Limavady.

The dedication, commitment and standing that the 72-year-old enjoyed was adequately reflected when she was named ‘Nurse of the Year’ five years ago at a time when she had just celebrated her half century in the profession.

The ceremony at the Hilton Hotel, Templepatrick, was the first of its kind ever to be held in the Province and Betty proved a worthy winner.

Staff and management at the Cornfield Care Centre marked Betty’s retirement with presentations and a function was held recently in Portballintrae to further acknowledge all she has done for the community down the years.

Operations Manager at Cornfield, Christine Thompson, commented: “Betty is an angel. She is kind, considerate, patient, loving, professional, committed, unfaltering and so energetic in all activities. She has the constitution of a person half her age.”

Betty, who came from the Chatham area of Armoy, started her nursing career in 1958 becoming a registered nurse. She then completed her registered Midwife training and her District Nurse Training.

She qualified from Ards Hospital on October 19, 1962 and left there seven years later to work at Ards Treatment Room where there were 11 GP’s. She stayed there until October 1974.

After an unfortunate motoring accident involving a young person, Betty left her post as nurse to become a midwife.

“It was a terrible incident and I just threw myself into work because I knew that starting again as a midwife was the right thing.

She began as a student midwife in 1974 at Jubilee Maternity Hospital, part of the City Hospital in Belfast where she spent two years.

Betty applied and was successful in becoming a relief sister in general taking her all around the Ards Peninsula. She subsequently became a district sister in Killinchy District.

In 1983 Betty moved to Ballymoney to be near her mother starting relief work in the Borough covering maternity leave.

Betty also worked in Claudy, Park and Feeny for two and a half years before moving to Coleraine as a Relief Sister. The job took her back and forward between Coleraine, Ballymoney, Portrush and Kilrea, spending four enjoyable years in the process.

She was then appointed District Sister in Ballymoney in Dr. Johnston’s practice. She travelled 70-80 miles each day dealing with wounds, early discharges, car accidents as well as looking after six MS patients.

After a short break from Ballymoney, Betty moving to Cornfield where she got on well with her employers and they, in turn, with her.

She feels nursing has changed down the years but considers the most important things in life are human interaction, respect and kindness.

While taking life a little easier it doesn’t mean Betty will be ‘off the radar’ – far from it. She has worked tirelessly for charity and in May of this year, she and 14 staff raised £3500 for the Alzheimer’s Society.

She has climbed the four highest mountains in the United Kingdom for the Foyle Hospice, Marie Curie and the Ulster Cancer Foundation.

She also plans to climb Carrauntoohil, Co. Kerry for the Foyle Hospital.

Everyone wishes Betty a long and happy retirement along with deep gratitude for all she has contributed to her fellow human beings down the years.