She was a trainee nurse. He was an apprentice chef. They’d been childhood sweethearts but drifted apart until one day their eyes met … over a hot lock on Ward 11.
A heated kitchen trolley steaming with suet puddings might not be the most romantic of locations but, for Rachel Burr, her parents’ courtship and family life together is forever a story of Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
“It’s like a second home and a lot of my life and connections have been at this hospital,” said Rachel, who is a cardiac specialist nurse in Cardiac Rehabilitation.
Mum Louise Prew and dad John Eadon had met as teenagers at the youth club in Kirkham.
She went on to train as a nurse at the Vic in the Sixties while he became the hospital’s first apprentice chef.
“They bumped into each other on Ward 11 over the hot lock and started dating,” said Rachel. But Louise was no easy catch and “he chased mum for a bit”. They finally married in 1974 and moved to St Annes. Daughter Helen, a senior lecturer at the University of Chester, was born in 1977 and Rachel in 1980 – both at the Vic.
Rachel said her mum recalled nurse training as a very different experience from today.
“You lived in fear of matron and they lodged at the nurses’ home where it was lights out at nine or 10 o’clock.”
But this didn’t stop Louise and her friend sneaking out to town where for fun they’d swap outfits in the ladies’ toilets – “to confuse the boys”. She never did get caught coming home.
Louise left nursing to work in occupational health at National Savings but returned to the NHS in 1988 for the opening of Clifton Hospital at St Annes. When she retired, she was a nurse on the Windsor unit, rehabilitating young people with disabilities.
John left the kitchen and in a varied career moved into social work from where he retired.
Rachel qualified as a nurse in 2007. Her first work placement from university at Blackpool was, of course, Ward 11, the cardiology ward where her dad would be a patient. He died in 2012, aged 68, and Louise seven years later aged 73, both at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.