HER face is familiar to generations of children from across north Northumberland, but after 34 years of dedicated service as school nurse, Sandy Smart has decided to retire.
The 65-year-old from Alnwick began her career at the town’s Infirmary, after training and qualifying as a registered nurse at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. In 1978 she made the move into educational health, serving 19 schools from Seahouses in the north to Felton in the south.
And since then she has seen many of the pupils in her care grow up to become parents themselves, whose children have then attended the same schools she continued to look after.
“I’ve had a wonderful time,” said Sandy, who is also a school governor and the health representative on the Multi-Agency Crime Prevention Initiative. “It has been a long time, but it was an honour to be a part of so many children’s lives.
“I’ve also seen a great deal of changes in school health provision since I started. I can honestly say that I’ve really enjoyed it, but all good things must come to an end.”
Despite retiring, Sandy plans to become a volunteer mentor for the county’s Youth Offending Team.
“I’ll still be working with young people,” she added. “Hopefully, I’ll help keep them on the right track.”
As a gift, friends and colleagues presented Sandy with a saxophone.