A NURSE who started her training at 16 and who returned to the front line to care for Covid patients is retiring this week.

Pat Moon, 66, from Morton-on-Swale, near Northallerton, has had a 50-year career which she said she has enjoyed immensely.

Mrs Moon has spent her last 20 years as a nurse at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton in its orthopaedics unit, but earlier this year was drafted into a Covid ward, where she also caught the illness, and passed it to her husband. Thankfully, they both recovered, and Mrs Moon returned to the Covid ward once more.

She said: "I left school in 1970 at 16 and started my training at Darlington Memorial Hospital. When I qualified in 1974, I went to work in the operating theatre, which could be stressful but I enjoyed it. I loved all aspects of nursing, but particularly caring for people."

Mrs Moon worked in hospitals around the North East, including in Durham and Bishop Auckland, and also in Essex and Northampton, where her husband moved for work.

It was in Northampton she started working with Marie Curie, which she continued after returning to North Yorkshire.

She said: "We cover a huge patch from Scarborough to Ribblehead in the Yorkshire Dales.

"I've been stuck in snow many times in the very rural areas, but it was always worth it to help care for someone and give family members a break."

Mrs Moon has also acted a mentor to newly qualified nurses, or those returning to the profession after a career break.

Her final day at work is on November 27, and she said she's looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren, and working on landscaping her garden.