A PASSIONATE care assistant will soon be hanging up her uniform for the last time after spending 40 years caring for others.

Now 72, Linda Williams was born in Herefordshire two days after the NHS started, on July 7 1948, and always wanted to be a nurse.

Having a family at a young age meant that her ambitions were not realised, but her passion for caring never waned and from the 1970s she worked in community care and then residential care for the elderly, later supporting district nurses with home-based patient care, before becoming one of the first healthcare assistants to work within a GP Surgery.

Linda spent more than a decade at Belmont Medical Centre, undertaking advanced level qualifications including a Level 3 NVQ in Health and Social Care, before joining the evening service based at Gaol Street clinic.

At 66, when many others would have been thinking of retirement, Linda was appointed by Taurus as a Healthcare Assistant, remaining in this position since that time, moving from the initial base at Wargrave House Surgery to the South Wye Medical Centre.

But the coronavirus crisis proved a deciding moment for Linda, despite enjoying her job and having no imminent plans to retire, as she was advised to self-isolate due to her age.

“I didn’t want to give up work, but neither did I want to risk my health," Linda said.

"I saw it as a signal that perhaps it was time for me to stop.”

Dr Paul Harris, principal GP at Belmont Medical Centre, said: “Linda joined Belmont when health care assistants were rare in primary care and brought her own inimitable style to the job.

"She was always popular with staff and patients alike, and her work rate never slowed even up to the point when she joined Taurus at a time when we all thought she was far too young to leave but was in fact past retirement age. Her final retirement is a loss to the healthcare system and she will be missed by us all.”

James Head, interim director of operations at Taurus Healthcare, added: “I would like to say a huge thank you to Linda for all of her hard work, passion and dedication that she has shown to the NHS and her patients over the past 40 years. We are incredibly privileged to have had Linda work for us here at Taurus Healthcare for the past six years."

Linda’s official retirement starts on 6 July, but when lockdown permits, she is hoping to volunteer at St Michael’s Hospice, where her husband passed away two years ago.

She is also a volunteer at The Courtyard Centre for the Arts and has grandchildren whom she helps to look after. Her caring nature is clearly going to be much in demand for a long time to come.

It also obviously runs in the family as her three daughters and one grand-daughter are also employed in the NHS!