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Double celebrations: UHBW officer and NHS celebrate 75th birthdays

Last updated: 05/07/2023

Lyn Crane and Professor Eugine Yafele

Photographed: Lyn Crane, Administration and Clerical Officer, and Professor Eugine Yafele, Chief Executive at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust

One of the NHS’ longest serving employees has celebrated her 75th birthday as the NHS marks its own 75th anniversary milestone.

Lyn Crane, who was born at home in St George, Bristol in February 1948, has worked at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) for 44 years.

Lyn, who lives in Knowle with her husband of 53 years, who she married at St Peter’s Church in Bishopsworth, may have had her NHS career written in the stars as her mother’s maiden name was Nurse.

We sat down with Lyn to find out more her life and career in the NHS.

How and why did you join the NHS?

I first worked in the NHS in the supplies department at the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) from 1971 to 1973, when I had to order food and bed linen for patients, uniforms for nurses, and other bits like that.

I took a career break to have my first child – I have three children and three grandchildren now - and later in 1979, I saw an advertisement in the newspaper for a Night Filer at the BRI. I applied for the position, came to interview on the Friday and was offered the role by the time I got home – with the ask to start the following Monday. It was Monday 5 November 1979 – Fireworks night – so you could say it all started with a bang!

I would have liked to have been a nurse or midwife but this wasn’t possible for me, so I thought the next best thing to do was to work at a hospital and here I am, 44 years later!

Lyn Crane 3 months oldPhotographed: Lyn Crane, aged three months old  

What roles have you had with the NHS?

My first role as Night Filer was five nights a week, from 5.15pm to 9.15pm, to help pick up the backlog of X-Rays that needed to be filed. I was in the role for nine years before I applied for another position at St Michael’s Hospital when I moved to daytime shifts.

I’ve moved between roles across UHBW sites, including the BRI, St Michael’s Hospital, out in the community at Brooklea Health Centre in Brislington, Bristol Eye Hospital, the old Bristol General Hospital (before it closed in 2012), Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and South Bristol Community Hospital (SBCH).

Roles have varied from Ward Clerk, where I worked with support staff, nurses, consultants and senior matron to help with rotas and other admin, to speech and language therapy at the Queen Elizabeth Building’s speech and language therapy department in September 2012.

Now, as Administration and Clerical Officer, I’m involved in the day to day running for the Trust’s Trauma and Orthopaedic department in the King Edward VII Building. Working 16 hours a week, I respond to telephone enquiries, help with filing and data upkeep, raise and process orders and lots more in a busy one-woman team! In November (2023), I’ll mark 10 years in this role. 

What’s changed over the past 44 years?

I was here when SBCH opened in Hengrove in April 2012 – in fact I started a new role as a receptionist at the community hospital as I really enjoyed speaking to people.

One of the biggest changes I have seen is definitely the modern technologies that have come to UHBW. There’s been plenty of training over the years as new devices have come to the Trust. I was here to see the incoming of Visual Display Units in the mid to late 80s in the BRI – long before we had computers. These were big, bulky devices used in a similar way modern day computers are used now – making patient appointments, booking patients in, keeping patient data up to date and the like.

How do you feel about the NHS turning 75?

It feels lovely for the NHS to be celebrating such a milestone and I am proud to have been here for so long. UHBW really feels like a second home to me, and my colleagues are a second family. I may retire this year having turned 75 but watch this space...

I haven’t had to use the NHS much myself having been luckily fairly healthy, although I have had three children, all born in Bristol (at Southmead Hospital, before St Michael’s Hospital was built) and I am grateful for the care I was given at the BRI when I had pneumonia twice. I was looked after so well both times and felt very comforted by staff.

I did a fundraising zip wire back in 2006, raising £290 for Above and Beyond (now called the Bristol & Weston Hospitals Charity) to support the Trust’s charity and all the amazing work they do.

Lyn Crane zip wire

Photographed: Lyn Crane, after her fundraising zip wire in 2006

How will you be celebrating the NHS's 75th birthday?

I usually work from home on Wednesdays but I am definitely coming into the office on 5 July to celebrate the big 75 with my colleagues! I anticipate there will be lots of cake and reminiscing – and I will really enjoy the live music planned for staff.

I absolutely love my job and the people I work with and I’m very proud to have worked in the NHS and with UHBW over the past 44 years.

Lyn Crane Bristol General Hospital

Photographed: Lyn Crane in the old Bristol General Hospital in 2003