Parish of Leatherhead - Mary Hamilton

Mary was born on November 18 1952 in King's College Hospital, Dulwich. She attended her local C of E primary school, for her first year in Blundellsands, Liverpool, then in Normanton when it was in the West Riding of Yorkshire, from where she passed her 11+ under age and won a county place at Wakefield Girls' High School. She passed seven O levels and went on to the sixth form but chose to leave when she was 18 to train as a nurse - that was her preference.

She trained in Sheffield, on a course which led to both SRN and RSCN (children's nurse). She followed this with a year's course at Epsom Hospital to qualify as an operating theatre nurse. Influenced by her father's wartime experiences in West Africa she later became interested in work as a medical missionary, and for this reason qualified at St Luke's, Guildford, as SCM, going on to complete, in Leeds, a six-month full time course for the Advanced Diploma in midwifery.
She had also developed an interest in Ethiopia, and was a keen supporter of St Matthew's Children's Orphanage in Addis Ababa; she visited Ethiopia twice as well as Kenya and Cape Town, in South Africa.

Her hopes of working abroad were not fulfilled, and she found conditions in the NHS increasingly unsatisfactory as it was becoming more and more difficult to work to the high standards she expected of herself and others. In 1989 she was accepted as a mature student at King's College, London, and in 1992 was awarded a second-class honours Bachelor of Divinity degree. She hoped this would lead to her being accepted for training by the Church of England, but it did not; nor could she get even an interview for teacher training either at secondary or at primary level, despite having good honours in a subject where there was a great shortage of well qualified teachers.

She worked for a time in theatre at Dorking Hospital with Mr Ring, a pioneer in hip replacement surgery and, when that closed, as an agency nurse.

In 2002 she moved back to Yorkshire, hoping to qualify as a solicitor by a postgraduate course in law at York College of Law. She found a nice house in what seemed a pleasant area, only to find to her great disenchantment that she was harassed unmercifully as an unwelcome intruder.

The forces of law and order were far from supportive; they made matters worse. She was on the point of returning home when, after a short visit to her parents, she died on June 9 2007 as the result of an injury sustained when her father's car crashed.

She worked hard; she cared for others but received shameful treatment from those whose profession was to help. Through all her disappointments and setbacks she held steadfastly to her faith. May she rest in peace until the second coming, asleep in the Lord.

Celia Hamilton
from the September 2007 Parish Magazine

see also Celia Hamilton 1921-2018

If you have photos of Mary or further remembrance to add, please contact Frank Haslam, the editor of these pages.

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