TRINA Warner had only planned to work at Essex County Hospital for about a year to pay off her car.

She had just returned from maternity leave having had her third child.

But 27 years later she was still there.

Mrs Warner now 56, said farewell to the site for the final time and said working there has certainly been the highlight of her 39-year career in nursing.

Having begun her training aged 17, straight after leaving Philip Morant School in Colchester, nursing felt like a natural progression for her.

She said: “I was always going to be a nurse and started my career at Black Notley.

“I was always the one in my family who looked after everyone.”

Mrs Warner grew up in Colchester and provided care for her mum.

She trained for a year at Black Notley then a further two in Colchester and her first job was at the town’s former Myland Hospital.

She then worked night shifts at Colchester General Hospital to juggle being a mum to her three children.

She said: “I left and had my last daughter in 1990 and went back to pay for my car - I said I would only stay for a year.”

But the love for her job, its atmosphere and staff kept her at what was her then workplace, Essex County Hospital.


Four years later she was outpatients department sister.

For the last five years she has managed outpatients at Essex County Hospital and at Colchester General Hospital sites.

Now she will continue that role but working from Colchester Hospital and the neighbouring Primary Care Centre, which has been upgraded as part of the process of closing the County Hospital site.

Mrs Warner said: “Imagine working in a hospital where you all knew each other, whether a porter or consultant or anything in between, everyone respected each other.

“When I got to work I would walk around the hospital, attending all my areas. Every member of staff you came across looked you in the eye and said good morning.

“It has been a wonderful family atmosphere and a wonderful family atmosphere to work in.

“When I first came to work in outpatients 27 years ago I was told in my interview that I would be in Essex County for 18 months as Essex County was due to close.

“Here we are 27 years later and it is finally happening.

“My feelings for Essex County Hospital are of great fondness and all of the highlights of my career have happened at Essex County. We will miss it very much.

“We hope with all the staff moving together to our new department some of the spirit and team ethos will come with us.”


Trina said it has been a “privilege” to work with her wonderful team for the past 27 years.

But she understands the reasons behind the move.

“The facilities at the County are well out of date, we all know that but it is time for change.

“It is time for a nice purpose-built unit where the patients have got all the facilities they need under one roof and the roof doesn’t leak.

“I am looking forward to it but with sadness.”

Nick Hulme, chief executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust which owns the hospital, added: “The building holds fond memories for a number of people, including our staff, but we hope those memories will be taken to the Primary Care Centre which will provide modern, light and much-improved surroundings for the teams leaving Lexden Road.

“It will make a huge difference to them and the patients we serve who have never complained about the poor state of repair of the building and we thank them for that.

“The site has meant so much to so many people but this move is long overdue and it will mean we can improve services for patients in north Essex.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved who’s worked so hard to make the transfer of services from Essex County Hospital possible and for all the years of dedication our staff have given to the site.”