A former Heanton Nursing Home nurse who now lives there is still respectfully known as ‘matron’ and keeps a watchful eye on standards.
Maureen Marsh - or Mo – worked at the home near Braunton for many years and is still offering her support and experience to staff at the age of 80 after a lifelong nursing career.
Although she never formally trained as a nurse, there is no doubt that is what she did, with extensive experience in many settings including a Barnardo’s children’s home, a psychiatric ward, Burrow House in Ilfracombe and finally Heanton.
Now living with a dementia, the home’s focus on life history and the importance of incorporating that into the care provided enables Mo to continue to live with purpose, attachment and belonging.
She can often be found taking notes, supervising or authorising home manager Paula to sign off the payroll.
Her son Stuart explained how she gained an interest in nursing from an early age by attending her local St John Ambulance where she learned first aid and basic nursing skills - even then staff noticed she was at ease with people who were unwell.
Stuart said: “I think this may have been her first inspiration to follow a path in nursing.
“Nurse is just another word to describe a strong person enough to tolerate anything and soft enough to understand anyone.”
Stuart was the first of Maureen’s children, Mo having married in 1958, he was born in 1960 and was followed by his sister Caroline in 1965.
She married again in 1976 to Terry, moving to Devon and went to work in the now closed Burrow House in Ilfracombe before going on to Heanton.
As well as her professional career, she gave her time as a volunteer over the course of 25 years to help the sick and terminally ill on various pilgrimages to Lourdes in France.
She enjoyed her time at Lourdes and this amazing life experience enabled her to combine her religious practices and occupation. An account of this is proudly positioned outside her room at Heanton.
She moved into the home at Heanton as a resident in 2016 and continues to show caring and support for anyone who she feels needs it.