Posted on Wednesday 11 June 2014
The first student nurse to work in Guy’s Hospital’s famous tower when it opened in 1974 has retired after 40 years of service to the NHS.
Ali Clores, now 60, from Lewisham, spent her entire career caring for cancer patients on the same ward, Hedley Atkins.
After moving to London from the Philippines to live with her sister Eve, who was also a student nurse at the time, Ali’s career almost came to a premature end when she failed her final nursing exam.
Instead of giving up, Ali became a nursing assistant, then known as a nursing auxiliary, and never looked back.
“I was so upset when I failed my exam but they suggested that I become a nursing auxiliary and I loved it. I got to know the patients so well and it was so rewarding, being an auxiliary was perfect for me.
“Nursing was very different back then, people made you feel so special. You’d never call your colleagues by their first name - if the matron heard you, you’d be struck off!”
Ali came from a medical background, her father was a doctor and her aunt a midwife.
“It was hard to be away from home, obviously there were no mobile phones and I had to book long distance calls to speak to my family.”
Ali will be enjoying retirement with her partner Robert, and plans to volunteer as a minister at her local church – something they have wanted her to do for years.
Eileen Sills, Chief Nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’, says: “Ali has been an integral member of the nursing team since the Hedley Atkins Unit was based in Lewisham, and later on the Hedley Atkins Ward at Guy's.
“Her dedication, hard work, team spirit and ability to deliver the highest levels of respectful patient care throughout the toughest of shifts have made Ali a legend. We wish her all the very best.”