The Green Room in the Countess of Brecknock Hospice was full as friends of Mary Critcher packed in to say good bye, as she retired from the post of Hospital Manager at Andover War Memorial Hospital.
"The sad news is that Mary is leaving Andover Hospital; the good news is that she is going next door to be the Registered Nurse Manager in Willow Court. So while Mary is leaving the NHS, she is not leaving nursing; she will be working for Hampshire Social Services, caring for the residents of the nursing home which is about to open."
Mary Critcher has worked in the health service for over 40 years; in order to relieve the pressure on the NHS through dealyed discharges, the NHS and the County Council collaborated to build Willow Tree Court on the campus of Andover Hospital. It will open shortly.
Barbara North, Chairm of the local NHS Trust, spoke movingly of Mary's commitment to the NHS and to the challenges she had had to cope with when Andover ceased being an independent Trust and was merged with Winchester. "The pace of change has put pressure on everyone, and Mary coped fantastically well. She has become Mrs Andover."