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End of an era as Philippa leaves unit

Senior sister Philippa Dyer with the photo of Lawrence of Arabia she sourced for the unit bearing his name at Bridlington Hospital.
Senior sister Philippa Dyer with the photo of Lawrence of Arabia she sourced for the unit bearing his name at Bridlington Hospital.

She was there when Bridlington Hospital opened and has looked after patients from the Bridlington area for more than 40 years.

Philippa Dyer was possible the only remaining member of staff still working at the hospital until she retired from her role as senior sister at the Lawrence Unit last week.

Philippa Dyer set up the Lawrence Unit at Bridlington Hospital

Philippa Dyer set up the Lawrence Unit at Bridlington Hospital

“I started aged 16 as a cadet nurse at Brandesburton Hospital,” she said.

“After two years out, I came back as an auxiliary nurse and then I did my enrolled nurse training at the old East Riding Hospital in Bridlington.”

Philippa can claim to have worked at all four of Bridlington’s hospitals in the past four decades.

She said: “I was an auxiliary at the olf Lloyd Hospital, did some training at Bempton Lane and worked on both sides of the Avenue Hospital.

“I worked there on maternity, although I wasn’t a midwife, they used to have trained nurses there to support them.

And she was one of the staff on duty on day one when the new Bridlington Hospital opened in March 1988.

“As soon as this place was built, we moved all the hospitals over in one weekend,” said Philippa, who is married to Simon, and has three children, Alice, George and William and two grandchildren Ruby and Hunter.

“I worked on Johnson Ward and the old Alderson Ward before coming to this unit in 1996.

“This was my baby. I created this unit and it is the thing I am most proud of. It was an old day hospital and I looked at ways to develop it.

“I looked at patients who needed to be in hospital but didn’t need to be in a bed and could be treated in reclining chairs and then go home.

“It saved beds and saved people having to stay in hospital overnight.

“Nine years ago, the hospital asked me if I would set up a similar unit in Scarborough Hospital. That is now the Bronte Unit.

Even the name of the Lawrence Unit was chosen by Philippa.

“All the wards at Bridlington Hospital are named after people with a historical link to the town,” she explained. “I was in Wetherspoons with my husband and they have pictures of people connected to Bridlington on the walls.

“I wanted to rename the day hospital but the only people I could see whose names hadn’t been taken were Lawrence of Arabia and Queen Henrietta.

“I though the Henrietts Unit sounded like a Thomas The Tank Engine carriage and the Lawrence Unit had the right ring to it.”

She even managed to secure a copy of one of the last pictures taken of him, to be hung on the wall.

“I love the patients and all of the colleagues I have workedwith in here.

“Just being there and helping people is wonderful. It’s a job I have always wanted to do.

“I was in hospital as a small child and had major surgery on my eye when I was nine years old.

“I saw the nurses who looked after me and thought ‘that’s what I want to do’. Now that the time has come to leave, I will be upset but it is the right time.

Her retirement plans involve time with her 16-week old labrador puppy called Bosun. “And two of my children have just bought holiday flats so I am going to help them with the renovations and I want to spend more time with my family,” she said.