More than 70 current and former Torbay Hospital nurses got together to party at their annual reunion.

Now celebrating its 78th year, Torbay Hospital Nurses League is three years older than the NHS and has 200 members worldwide, all of which either trained at Torbay Hospital or worked there for more than two years.

The reunion began with a short but moving service at St Matthias Church, Wellswood, led by hospital chaplain Reverend Angela Sumner on the theme of love.

Rev Sumner said: ‘It was a wonderful party day celebrating dedicated service and much friendship.’

The nurses league is involved in many projects within the hospital to improve care and experiences for staff and patients, including upgrades to day rooms on George Earle, Simpson and McCallum wards – which all offer care for older people and those living with dementia.

The league also provides handmade syringe driver bags for palliative care patients, memory boxes for patients’ families and welcome packs for newly arrived overseas nurses. 

Members of the league hold craft fairs and coffee mornings throughout the year to raise funds to support their work and maintain their living legacy of camaraderie, care and compassion.

President Jane Watson said: ‘We are very proud of our hospital and passionate about supporting our hospital and the next generation of nurses.

‘We are apparently the only nurses league still in existence and still active this side of London.

‘Rare breeds!

‘Our league ethos is: nurses supporting nurses.’

Liz Davenport, chief executive of the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, added: ‘We are hugely proud of our nurses league and the contributions they make to helping us deliver our vision of better health and care for all.

‘Their kindness, encouragement and commitment is an inspiration to us all and is deeply appreciated by colleagues across our many sites and services.’

If you trained as a nurse or worked as a nurse at Torbay Hospital and are interested in joining the nurses league, please email Elaine Biden, league secretary, at [email protected]

Formed in 2015, the trust is one of the first in England to have integrated its acute and community health services with adult social care.

It serves some 292,000 residents across South Devon, and an additional 100,000 visitors during the summer holiday period.

The trust’s acute services include Torbay Hospital and four community hospitals. Annually, it carries out around 21,000 theatre procedures, treats 73,000 people through its emergency department and 40,000 through its minor injury units.

It employs some 6,700 members of staff and has more than 600 volunteers.