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Devoted nurse remembered after two decades in town's hospital

PUBLISHED: 15:42 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:02 06 September 2019

Hazel Turbervill. PHOTO: Courtesy of Huw Turbervill

Hazel Turbervill. PHOTO: Courtesy of Huw Turbervill

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A devoted and kind sister who cared for countless patients at a town's hospital has been fondly remembered after her death.

Hazel Turbervill. PHOTO: Courtesy of Huw TurbervillHazel Turbervill. PHOTO: Courtesy of Huw Turbervill

Hazel Elizabeth Turbervill spent more than two decades working at the Patrick Stead Hospital, in Halesworth, after moving to Suffolk in the 1970s.

She passed away on August 26, and her son Huw Turbervill praised her caring nature throughout her life.

He said: "She had a huge passion for family and was incredibly close to her mother Peggy and father Ted when she was growing up in a warm and caring household in Sussex.

"She was the head of a house full of 'her boys': Her beloved husband of 53 years Gordon, Ted, her son Huw and Whisky the treasured cocker spaniel.

Hazel Turbervill. PHOTO: Courtesy of Huw TurbervillHazel Turbervill. PHOTO: Courtesy of Huw Turbervill

"I count myself incredibly fortunate to have her as a mother. She was, quite simply, kind and loving. She had a complete absence of malice, deviousness or manipulativeness.

"A family friend labelled her the hardest-working woman in the UK as she was also a full-time nursing sister, but she was never happier.

"Her other passion was for her career - she always wanted to be a nurse. She just wanted to care for people. She took enormous pride in her work, and rightly so. She was a strong yet very kind colleague.

"Her legacy is that she touched those she met - and cared for - with huge amounts of love and warmth."

After starting out at Queen Victoria Hospital in Sussex as a pre-student nurse for two years, she moved to Chichester, before returning to Sussex to begin working in plastic surgery.

"She found it rewarding helping burns victims, and she also met Dad there.

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"She said she 'fell in love with him and his mind'. They loved each other a great deal."

The couple married in October 1996 in Haywards Heath, with the reception at Gatwick Airport before a honeymoon to Majorca.

After short stays at hospitals in Kent, Haywards Heath, Mitcham and Tooting, the family moved to Halesworth, where she settled at the Patrick Stead Hospital.

Having started as a bank nurse, Mrs Turbervill trained to be the sister, and ended up in charge in the absence of a matron, before taking early retirement in 1998.

Mr Turbervill said: "It was a lovely cottage hospital, with beautiful grounds and so close to home that she cycled to work. Its recent closure saddened Mum.

"She adored working with the doctors.

"Thanks to her long involvement there, she was well-respected and loved in the town.

"Retiring at 55 was a mistake in hindsight. Her job had given her so much fulfilment. She lost a sense of purpose and she should have lined up a part-time role."

Mrs Turbervill was also a keen athlete for much of her life, playing tennis and badminton, as well as being a regular cyclist.

Her son said: "She followed cricket, accompanying me to a day of The Oval Test every year. Imagine her thrill when we bumped into Graham Gooch on the beach at Southwold in one of her last trips out.

"She ignored the early signs of diabetes. Complications followed, but once she was finally treated she showed tremendous stoicism and bravery, despite being blind. Never once did she complain.

"Her advice would be, don't put things off - if there is something wrong, seek treatment.

"She always delighted in her three grandchildren, Grace, Ben and Polly. She loved all three visiting her, and speaking to them on the phone."

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