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West Suffolk Hospital nursery nurse Marion Rolph recognised for 48 years' service

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A nursery nurse who has cared for hundreds of mothers and babies over a 48-year career has been recognised for her long service.

Marion Rolph, who works at the neonatal unit at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, has received its NHS trust's 45-year long-service badge.

She specialises in supporting mothers whose babies are being cared for in the neonatal unit to breast feed.

Marion Rolph and Karen Ranson
Marion Rolph and Karen Ranson

Interim chief executive Craig Black said: "Forty eight years is an astonishing length of time to serve the community but what is truly exceptional is the high regard Marion is held in from patients, families and colleagues alike.

"To deliver such care over such a time period is awe inspiring."

Brought up in Exeter, Marion was eight years-old when she helped out at a children’s home party and loved it so much she asked if she could help after school.

When she left school, aged 16 in 1968, it was to start her training as a nursery nurse.

After her training Marion worked in children’s homes until 1974, when she joined the maternity service at what was then Newmarket General Hospital, moving to the West Suffolk Hospital neonatal unit 18 years later.

Having looked after so many babies in the town, Marion is well-known in Newmarket where she lives with her husband Ian, and they have a daughter and two sons, and two grandchildren.

She said: “People often come up to me and say they remember me from when they had their baby."

Looking back on her long career, Marion has seen many changes.

“The fathers were not allowed to be there at the birth and could only look at their newborns through a window," she said.

"The older midwives were horrified when they were allowed in the labour suite.

"It was much more regimented when I began, but now it is quite rightly much more mother-and baby-led.

“For a first baby you stayed in hospital for 10 days and were shown how to bath a baby and so on as well as feeding – the mothers liked it, they used to say it was a bit like school.

"Of course, there were only towelling nappies, and the babies were all put into green cotton tops."

Karen Ranson, manager of the neonatal unit, said Marion had supported hundreds of families and 'her patience and skill at supporting mothers breastfeeding makes her stand out'.

"Marion’s love of her job is clear for all to see, as is the fondness of parents for her," she said.

"I can only liken her to a warm blanket, and I think that’s how she makes parents feel – warm, safe and secure.

"Marion is a great asset to our babies, their families and to the neonatal unit.”

Karen has also recently received her 40-year long service badge, having started working in the NHS on May 23, 1982.