Doncaster medical secretary clocks up six decades of service

Rita Bywater with her colleague. Rita has retiredfrom her job in the NHS in Doncaster after 60 years.
Rita Bywater with her colleague. Rita has retiredfrom her job in the NHS in Doncaster after 60 years.
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A medical secretary who has clocked up nearly 60 years working in the NHS has decided to take a well-earned rest.

Rita Bywater, aged 75 from Conisbrough, joined the NHS in 1958 when she was just 16 years old.

She was initially working at Western Hospital in Balby, as Secretary to Miss C E Peaker, who was the first Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist for the NHS in Doncaster.

She then moved to start a new role in the Maternity Hospital (now the Women’s and Children’s Hospital) on the day that it opened at Doncaster Royal Infirmary on 19 February 1969.

Rita said: “It was an exciting time for me.

“Stepping through the doors of the Women’s Hospital on my first day at work just when the new hospital opened was something I have never forgotten.

I am glad to say that some 49 years later we are both still going strong.

“Technology has come a long way.

“In those days we used a manual typewriter which required precision accuracy.

“There was no autocorrect like there is today. You had to get it right, first time, or retype it again.

“I still have my first pay slip, the grand total of £3.11 a week and I very grateful for it.

“I have enjoyed my time here and have been very fortunate to work with such a great bunch of people over the years.

“I will miss them all very much.”

Rita’s friends and colleagues from across the Women’s and Children’s Hospital gave her a big send-off on 2 March 2017, her last working day.

Eki Emovon, Children and Families Care Group Director, said: “Rita has earned the respect from everyone she meets, secretaries, patients, nurses and consultants.

“She has taken the other younger secretaries under her wing and showed them the ropes.

“I don’t think there will ever be another Rita.

“She is one in a million, and we will miss her very dearly.”