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The Depperhaugh Nursing Home honours nurse Christine for 35 years of service

Depp Christine

For a nurse with young children, doing night shifts at The Depperhaugh Nursing Home, in Hoxne, near Eye, was the perfect way to juggle work and family life.

But while Christine Dinnage’s association with the magnificent former family home of 19th century admiral Sir Baldwin Walker began for practical reasons, she quickly fell in love with her workplace.

“You never tire of looking out the window and seeing deer, rabbits and game birds in the garden,” she said.

Always living in the surrounding Suffolk countryside, she has been content to raise her four boys and continue working at The Depperhaugh.

This week, home manager Debbie Kilbourn organised a presentation of flowers and a plaque to honour her 35 years of service.

Mrs Dinnage, 64, who trained as a nurse at the old Norwich hospital, arrived at The Depperhaugh, in February 1989 when the home was owned by the Richmonds.

She recalls: “They were very different times, we are much more person centred in our care nowadays and, in nursing, technology has advanced considerably. However, the job has always been about doing your absolute best for the residents.

“One thing I can remember is that there were no hoists, making it back-breaking work helping people get out of bed!”

Mrs Dinnage said The Depperhaugh has always attracted long-serving staff which partly accounts for its happy, family atmosphere.

“The strong sense of camaraderie helped us through the Covid pandemic and the several occasions we found ourselves snowed in,” she said.

Since Kingsley Healthcare took over the home in 2008, there has been substantial investment in the building and gardens, but the timeless appeal remains, she said.

One poignant memory in recent years was when Mrs Dinnage and her colleagues had their heads shaved to raise money for a cancer charity in support of their colleague Angie Bailey who sadly later passed away. “Angie was such a caring person,” she said.

Mrs Dinnage said she has lovely memories of centenarians’ birthdays, a 75th wedding anniversary and even one wedding when a resident’s daughter reconstructed the ceremony for her mother.

She said: “I have no immediate plans to retire and even when I do, I will still come back to help as a volunteer. The Depperhaugh is like a second home to me, it’s a big part of my life.”

Mrs Kilbourn said: “Christine’s service has been amazing. We are lucky to have many long-serving staff at The Depperhaugh.”

 

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