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Keeping Sister Dora’s legacy alive in Walsall and beyond

2023-06-29T23:12:00+01:00Thursday 29 June 2023|
  • Author and distant Sister Dora relative Suzanne Stirke

An author and distant relative of Walsall Nursing heroine Sister Dora has agreed to be part of the 75th birthday celebrations for the NHS at the Manor Hospital.

Suzanne Stirke is writing a book about Walsall’s very own Florence Nightingale as she is fondly known.

Suzanne’s husband Peter’s great, great, great uncle was married to one of Sister Dora’s sisters, Rachel. And Suzanne, who lives just a few miles from her birthplace of Hauxwell, in north Yorkshire, has been thrilled to see Sister Dora’s memory is being kept alive in Walsall.

She will visit wards to talk to patients next Wednesday 5 July and will also give a talk at 1pm that day and is looking forward to getting a real taste of the town that was so important to Sister Dora.

Suzanne said: “We know her as Dorothy Pattison here in Yorkshire, but Sister Dora is her Walsall name and there is obviously still a great love for her which I have been thrilled to see.

“I visited the Manor Hospital a little while back and saw the glass statue of her which I thought was marvellous. I got talking to the Fundraising Manager Georgie Westley who said that she was still very much spoken of and remembered fondly. I knew a Thanksgiving service was held every year for her but hadn’t appreciated the warmth that still existed for her.

“I’m looking forward to coming to Walsall to really get a sense and taste of the place that was dear to her and to help me with my book.

“We know that she had a tough life and that back in her day, 1832 she was born, you did what your parents told you to do even though she had such a desire to become a Nurse. When her mother died and left her a small legacy, she got her chance, along with her sister Fanny and the pair took up roles in Redcar as part of a sisterhood group.

“She eventually got the chance to come to Walsall as the group saw Walsall was in need but she was called back to Redcar again. It was a fluke she came back to Walsall to work in a small hospital that should have been run by Doctors actually!

“And it’s that part of her character and history that I want to look at in my book. Nursing was her vocation but she struggled to realise her ambition because of the circumstances of the time. She showed such strength of character as well as compassion and that makes her such an interesting person.”

Georgie Westley, Fundraising Manager, said it was “a privilege” to have Suzanne take part in Walsall’s celebrations.

“Sister Dora is held in high regard in Walsall and her story needs to continue being told to future generations. I’m sure our patients and staff will find Suzanne’s visit fascinating.”

If you are interested in joining the Sister Dora talk you are welcome to join us on Wednesday 5 July, 1pm – 2pm, in the Manor Learning and Conference Centre, Rooms 12 and 13, third floor, Manor Hospital, Moat Road, Walsall, WS2 9PS.  Please register your interest by contacting Georgie Westley on 01922 656643 or

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