TRIBUTES have been paid to ‘Birkdale’s Florence Nightingale’ who has passed away aged 82.
Former Southport nurse and charity worker Eileen Smith devoted most of her professional life to nursing, first at The Royal in Liverpool and later at The Promenade Hospital in Southport. Born in West Kirkby, she later moved to Formby with husband Michael and sons David, Andrew and Paul, before settling in Southport in the early 1970s. Eileen is fondly remembered for her years working on the geriatric ward at the Promenade Hospital.
Her son Paul, 52, said: “People would stop her in the street and thank her for the tender way she looked after one of their relatives in hospital. This might have happened 30 years ago, but people remembered. She built relationships which lasted a lifetime.”
After leaving nursing, Eileen threw herself into a series of other caring roles. She was part of the original team behind the inception of Queenscourt Hospice and worked tirelessly for the charity as a volunteer, alongside husband Michael. Another organisation close to her heart was the St Vincent de Paul Society, through which she provided a range of practical and emotional support to some of Southport’s most vulnerable people.
Eileen will also be remembered at St Mark’s Medical Centre, Southport, where she helped to manage and update the surgery’s extensive library of patient records and made many new friends.
Eileen’s Catholic faith was very important to her and both she and Michael, who died in 2010, were well-loved figures at St Teresa’s Church and St Joseph’s Church, in Birkdale.
In her spare time, Eileen enjoyed gardening, walking in the countryside, days out to National Trust properties and spending time with family and friends.
Paul added: “The word ‘kind’ was invented for mum. She was the most caring person you could meet. She devoted her life to championing underdogs and actively looking for ways she could help people.
“Last year she suffered a broken hip and needed an operation in hospital. But instead of just resting up, she got back on her feet in double quick time so that she could ‘work the ward’ and check all the other patients were okay Everyone thought she was remarkable. Once a nurse, always a nurse! “Birkdale has certainly lost its Florence Nightingale.”
Eileen died on April 28 after suffering a stroke. She leaves three sons, her brother Pip, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.