She’s been described as an “absolute legend” but all good things come to an end and Breda Winders is calling time after 41 years with the NHS.
Breda, 59, a Community Midwife, is retiring, more than four decades since she started at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust in July 1981. At the time the country was gripped by Royal Wedding fever in the lead-up to the marriage of Charles and Diana.
Since then the mother of four from Willenhall has delivered thousands of babies and seen lots of changes, working at the Sister Dora General Hospital until it closed in 1990. She was present when Princess Diana opened Walsall Manor Hospital in June 1991.
A midwife for 26 years, Breda has spent the last 16 of those back at the Manor after three years at New Cross Hospital. But one thing that hasn’t changed is her love for her colleagues – and theirs for her.
“I shall miss the colleagues and the mums – getting to know the women and having their friendship has meant everything,” said Breda. “But I shan’t miss the on-calls and the traffic!”
Vicky Picken, Lead Midwife for Community Services, has worked with Breda for five years. She said: “I spent my first day here with Breda and I’m spending her last day with her. She is an absolute legend.
“She is a font of knowledge and will be very much missed – everyone knows her and goes to her for the answers to questions. All of her mums know her by name. It breaks my heart that she’s going and I will shed a tear later.”
Breda added: “I’ve worked with a lot of team leaders and matrons but no one compares with Vicky.”
Breda, who has been working three days a week for the last four years since first taking early retirement, is planning to spend time with her first grandchild, grand-daughter Mila, who is seven month old, as well as travelling with Julian, her husband of 33 years.
Mila’s the daughter of Aisling, 32, a Staff Nurse on Ward 7, while Breda’s other daughter, Catherine, 29, also works in the NHS, at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
But Breda, who also has sons, Jack, 24 and David, 20, is hoping to return to the Community Midwives team in a similar role on an occasional basis, so colleagues can still benefit from Breda’s wisdom for a while yet.