Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Steve Parker-staff (1983-1989)



Steve in the stocks during the annual Sully Hospital fete ( 1985)
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Sully Hospital - Nurses Home


Steve Parker has fond memories of his time in Sully where he worked from 1983 to 1989 as a maintenance carpenter.

“ I was only 21 years of age when I started work there.

In 1994, I moved from my parents home and into the Nurses Home. My room was 131, on the first floor of the Nurses Home, next to the lift (East Wing) and opposite the communal toilets with a view of the kitchens.

It was very tiny.


My initial thoughts were:” what have I done!”

There was loud music coming along the corridor, all-coming from different rooms and thus different tunes.

After unpacking on my first evening I sat in my chair and left the door wide open.

I had a great view of the toilets. I just sat there and drank a few tins of beer.

After two hours there were sounds of laughter and a young girl appeared in the doorway dressed in her nightclothes.

She said:“oh you’re new.
Do you want to join us in the kitchen?
We’re having a séance.”

Well, I had never been to a séance before but I thought I would give it a try.

“ Well there were about six or so students all sat around a coffee table all in their night dresses and a couple of empty bottles of wine and me.

“We were unable to contact the dead but it did change my mind about staying.

Sian Phillips was the Warden. She lived on the first floor at the very end of the West wing. She left in 1986 and the new warden Gloria Rowe, was married and did not live in the nurses home.

Eventually the porters got fed up of letting locked out students back into their rooms, and I became unofficially the deputy warden as I had a set of master keys (part of my job).
Anyway, most of the time I was out with the students.



There were lot of parties in the nurse’s home and only a few ever got out of hand with the warden having to put a stop to it.

Another regular event was the ritual walk to the Sully Inn on a Thursday night for a few beers and to listen to a singer.

In the summer we had beach parties with a BBQ.

Most of the students did not take to the social club in the grounds because; it was a bit run down and was mostly frequented by employees of the hospital and locals.

The students preferred to go to the students union in Cardiff or into Cardiff itself.

Life in the nurses home was not all fun and at times it got very quiet especially in the summer holidays when there would only be about 6 of us in the home.


There were some doctors who were from overseas attending residential courses. Most of these doctors were from Africa or Asia.

I remember a Dr Ali, a nice chap from Africa who was trying to get the cooker to work and he asked me asked for assistance, he was trying to light the cooker using a lighter but could not understand why it was not lighting.

The cooker was electric.

Then there was the doctor from overseas boiling his underwear in a large saucepan.

He forgot about them.
The fire alarm went off, which it did from time to time, and we ignored it.
Suddenly there was smoke in the corridors and we found what remained of his clothes glowering and smouldering in the pan.

As usual the fire brigade turned up with half a dozen fire fighters crammed in the kitchen. We never did find out which doctor did it they


Whilst I was staying at the nurses’ home I did my bit for charity.
I did two parachute jumps to raise money for a new special bed, and I took part in a charity football match played at BP social club Sully, where all the hospital staff dressed up as nurses, including myself.



I think I gave a few people a bit of a shock for I rode through Sully on my motorbike in a size 12 staff nurses uniform, well endowed of course, complete with fishnets stockings.

My rent was only £8.40 a week! The students paid more than I did.

The students were allocated their rooms by occupation that is to say that the Occupational and Physiotherapists were allocated the first and second floors whilst the dental hygienists and Ophthalmologists were given the third floor. In my last year there ambulance cadets also stayed at the nurses home. As well as myself there also were several other members of Sully hospital employees who also lived in the nurses home.


Christmas at Sully was mixed for me, the atmosphere in the hospital itself was great with parties going on here and there some even had small quantities of alcohol, and of course the staff Christmas dinner was a fine meal.


However, the nurse’s home was once again quiet, although I worked in between Christmas and the New Year more often than not.

It was December 6th 1988, when I was asked to assist a nurse who had finished her shift and was unable to start her scooter.

I tried everything that I could think of but it was not having any of it. I told the nurse that I could not fix it.

Just as I was putting away my tools a voice from above said, “Steve do you want to come to a party?”
“I am still in my working clothes,” I said.

“Come as you are.”

To this day I’m not sure who invited me but when I walked into the first floor West kitchen a party was trying to get going, mostly girls and just a few lads.

I was chatted up by this short blond student, seven and a half years later we were married, and still are.

My wife said that there was not much competition and so she made a move first before anyone else did.”



Steve got married at Craig-y-nos Castle in 1995 and now lives five miles from it.

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