Norah, a much-loved member of our TWCC family since her arrival in 2021, was born in County Clare (Ireland) in July 1930. Along with her seven sisters and four brothers, she was brought up on a farm in the Irish countryside. Living the pastoral lifestyle, Norah would often help out by doing work on the farm with her siblings, such as cleaning out the hens and chickens. She walked to and from the school she attended, which happened to be taught by nuns, and each day after school Norah would do many more chores to help keep the farm running.

After arriving in England at the age of 17 to join her student nurse sister, Norah underwent her State Registered Nurse training in Dartford, finishing this three and a half years later. Before she graduated, Norah won the hospital’s Best Theatre Nurse of the Year award, despite not even enjoying the role! Her prize was a midwifery book which, rather unexpectedly, inspired her to become a midwife. She began her training in hospitals in Lewisham and Woolwich where she learned a great deal and met many people who inspired her, including the midwife with whom she stayed and accompanied on house calls after finishing her basic training.

During the 1940s and 1950s many babies were born at home rather than in hospital. Norah’s first ever solo home delivery was dramatic and stressful, given that the baby was in the breech position, the doctor was unavailable, and she was completely on her own! Thanks to her training and cool head, both mother and baby were absolutely fine.

Norah met her husband John when she went dancing in Woolwich with her sister and brother-in-law. John was an engineer and travelled all over the country. By then Norah was back in Ireland working as a district nurse. But the couple corresponded, Norah returned to England and in 1960 they got married. They had two sons, Paul and Adrian, together before John sadly passed away in the 1970s.

After having children herself, Norah decided to give up midwifery as her husband was worried about her safety while out on call late at night.

Nowadays, Paul is married with three children and teaches English in Switzerland, while Adrian lives in Tunbridge Wells and has a daughter.

Norah’s favourite hobbies are listening to music and dancing. She especially loves the quickstep, an energetic and skilful dance that reminds her of when she used to go dancing in and around Woolwich with her husband. Here at TWCC, Norah loves to get involved with the activities organised by the wellbeing team and have fun with the other residents!