Call the (Village) Midwife
Nurse Lucy Flora Weedon (1905 - 1950)
In our Society publication ‘Who Was Who in Kings Langley Parish Church’ a memorial tablet to Nurse Lucy Flora Weedon is described. The following tribute to a much loved nurse was published in the KLLH&MS Newsletter in 1971.
Nurse Weedon’s story really starts three years before her birth when the Kings Langley Provident Nursing Association was inaugurated. The event was reported at the time in the following words.
“After four months of somewhat anxious work, the nursing committee has engaged a nurse and she has now begun her work in Kings Langley. She has had good training and long experience in district nursing.
It may be well, before the scheme is in full working order, to give an account of the organisation. The parish has been divided into nine districts, and each district will be visited monthly by one of the ladies of the Committee as collectors. The scheme starts on the 1st of May 1902. Subscribers will be supplied with cards upon which the up payments will be entered. The rules are stated on the cards, the most important being that the nurse will attend no infectious cases, so that a bad throat must be seen by the doctor before the nurse is sent for, and the notice of confinement must be given three months beforehand.
The terms of payment for benefit subscribers are as follows:-
Labourers…………………………………………………………………. 3d a month
Artisans, gentleman’s servants, small farmers, railway employees, etc. … 6d a month
Booking fee for Confinements……………………………………………2/6p ”
Lucy Weedon was born in Portsmouth in 1905. She was very fond of her home town and returned there as often as she could to visit her many relatives. She received her training at the Royal Hospital at Portsmouth and qualified as a State Registered Nurse and a State Certified Midwife.
In 1936 Nurse Weedon was appointed to the post of District Nurse for Kings Langley and District and came to live in the village with her mother. They lived in a bungalow in Alexandra Road which was erected for the District Nurse and paid for by public subscription. A plaque fixed to the wall recorded the fact that the sum comprised subscriptions of sixpence and over. It was removed when the National Health Service took over but it has now been reinstated.
Mr. Weedon’s mother became well known in the local horticultural world with her exhibits in the vegetable classes. Her speciality being runner beans.
When Nurse Weedon first came to the village her only means of transport was a bicycle. It was not until 1939 that she acquired a car, when, of course, petrol began to get scarce. Even so she and her close friend, Miss Muriel Toms, managed to get away together for short holidays by pooling their petrol coupons.
She had a puckish sense of humour and was greatly loved by her many friends in the district. She helped to bring many hundreds of the local children into the world and never lost her interest in them as they grew up. This was a touchingly illustrated at a family service in the Parish Church when the Vicar asked the children if they knew Nurse Weedon. All in the children raised their hands.
She was considered almost as one of the staff at the school, and many of them wrote to her in the last few weeks before her death.
During her last few years Nurse Weedon remained at her post and carried out her duties with her usual good humour despite having to endure two major operations. In September 1950 she entered Mount Vernon Hospital, Northwood for her third operation and died there on the 28th of the same month.
For years she had been a member of the choir at the parish church, and a muffled peal of bells was sounded on the day prior to the funeral. At her funeral on the 2nd October the coffin was carried into the church between two ranks of District Nurses who lined the path. The choir had been augmented by the senior children from the school.
To continue......the following report appeared a year later in the ‘Langley Times’ on the 6th October 1951
Memorial to Nurse Weedon Unveiled
Exactly a year after the death of Nurse Lucy Weedon over 100 people assembled in the Parish Church at Kings Langley last Sunday evening [30th September 1951], for the unveiling of a simple tablet to her memory.
The Vicar explained that the authorities of the Church of England rigidly opposed the indiscriminate setting up of memorials in Churches and permission was now granted in very exceptional cases only. Not only had it been necessary to obtain the approval of the Churchwardens and the Parochial Church council - which was given unanimously - but the Chancellor of the Diocese had to be satisfied that exceptional circumstances existed which warranted the grant of a Faculty.
The Vicar said that he felt that the successful surmounting of all these obstacles was in itself evidence of the feeling for the memory of Nurse Weedon and he was glad to think that her name will be commemorated in the Church for all time.
Miss Muriel Toms who was a close friend of Nurse Weedon then draw aside the veil to reveal on the South wall of the Tower an oak tablet with incised blue lettering. After a prayer of dedication the short service terminated with the singing of the hymn “For all the Saints”.