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27/09/2021

Last full-time seamstress retires from Laois HSE community hospital

Last full-time seamstress retires from Laois HSE community hospital

Else McDonald on the day of her retirement from St Vincent's CNU Mountmellick on August 27. Photo: Lynda Kiernan

The last full-time seamstress employed by the HSE in the midlands has switched off her sewing machine for the last time in her local hospital.

Elsie McDonald from Derrydavy, Mountmellick was the seamstress for the past 30 years in St Vincent's Community Nursing Unit in the town.

Her work included sewing on all the name tags on residents' clothes so they could be returned after laundry. She also made the hospital's curtains and did repairs and taught crafts to the residents, and organised Masses in the hospital chapel.

Elsie who turns 66 next month stayed on an extra year in her work to help out staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her last very special job was making the gowns and PPE for the hospital staff.

She also volunteered Treasurer of the Friends of St Vincent's CNU, and intends to continue in that volunteer role. 

On her last day, she told the Leinster Express how it feels to finish up.

"It feels very good. I stayed on the extra year for Covid to help where I could," she said.

Paula Phelan is Director of Nursing.

"She did a lot more than being our seamstress. She was involved in the activities in daycare. We are glad that she will be staying on as treasurer of the Friends of St Vincent's, it is in safe hands," she said.

"We thank her for her dedication and loyalty to the unit. The work she carried on behind the scenes was immeasurable. On behalf of the residents and staff we wish her a happy and healthy retirement," the director said.

The hospital bid farewell to Elsie in a lovely tweet and photograph.

"Today we said goodbye to Elsie McDonald who first began her career in @SMountmellick in 1978. Elsie has worked in all departments lastly as seamstress. The unseen work she has done over the years is immeasurable as was the dedication & loyalty, happy retirement, we will miss you."

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