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An obituary: Olive 'Edith' Senior

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Olive ‘Edith’ Senior, daughter of Harold and Doris, sister of John, died on the 4 January 2012.

Edith known later in her working life as “Miss Senior”, was born in Rainworth on 26 March 1934, and educated at Heathlands Primary School, Rainworth and High Oakham Grammar School.

At 14 she started her working life as a cadet nurse at Harlow Wood Orthopaedic Hospital. From there she progressed to St. Georges Hospital in Hyde Park London, followed by various different hospitals moving through the promotion ranks of nursing: Staff Nurse; Sister and Matron.

She became the first Chief Nursing Officer for Nottinghamshire and District Hospital Management Committee, followed by Regional Nursing Officer for the “new” Trent Regional Health Authority, (RHA) which covered Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire - a region that covered 4.5 million people, the second largest in the country. Trent RHA’s headquarters were in Sheffield, - as the city was home to the regions only medical school. This was where Edith was then based, and it became her home for many years. 

In retirement Edith worked as a Research Fellow at the Nottingham University Hospital. During her long career dedicated to nursing she travelled extensively teaching and studying all over the world, covering such places as South Africa, Swaziland, Japan, Europe and America. She met and socialised with many high ranking people including most of the royal family and government ministers. Many of her friends in retirement were those she had made during her working life, some of whom she had supported through their own progression in their medical careers.

Here we have a lady who started life from a humble background. Dad was a bus conductor, then a Prudential agent, and Mother was a school dinnerlady. She went on to reach the top of her profession, eventually settling back in Mansfield where she attended Big Barn Lane Methodist Church (although she still maintained that she was Anglican).

She survived cancer three times. On the first occasion, whilst being treated with the new “experimental” radiotherapy, one lung was burned quite badly, which along with her bronchitis often caused her discomfort. She also suffered with osteoporosis. Finally, her death was caused by a cerebral haemorrhage.

In retirement, Edith devoted much of her time to the U3A (University of the Third Age). Starting at Dukeries branch she soon became quite passionate about the U3A. She instigated and was largely responsible for creating many of the local branches including Mansfield, Ashfield, Sherwood, Southwell and Arnold. She was also the Nottinghamshire Regional U3A Secretary for some years. She spent many hours running and attending the groups and made many good friends in the process. Bridge and the Investment groups were probably her favourites. Edith had a very strong character - you always knew exactly where you stood with her, but she had a heart of gold, always trying to help others with their work, family, social problems or studies. She treasured many letters of thanks from those that she had helped in all walks of life.

Her family is very proud of her professional and personal achievements and she will be sadly missed.

A Memorial Service, - a Celebration of Edith’s life, will be held on 17 March at St Peter’s Church, Sheepwalk Lane, Ravenshead Notts. NG15 9FD. The short service will commence at 1.30pm followed by refreshments. If you knew Edith through friendship, as a work colleague or a family member and would like to attend, please contact 01623 633881 or 01636 794437.

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