Obituary: Jean Wood, nurse, 82

JEAN Wood, devoted nurse and a community stalwart who went the extra mile for patients and neighbours, has died at the age of 82.

The daughter of a grieve, Jean Thomson was born at South Belton Farm in Dunbar in January 1928 and lived in the town for most of her life.

Educated at Dunbar Primary and Dunbar Grammar School, it was there she met her future beau, Douglas Wood, who was two years her senior. On leaving school, Jean trained as a nurse at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh and became reacquainted with Douglas following a chance meeting in the Capital.

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He had been demobbed from the Royal Scots Regiment and the pair bumped into each other outside the Usher Hall one afternoon in 1949. Within a year, they had married at Belhaven Parish Church.

Douglas found work at Dunbar Cement Works manning the kiln, while Jean continued with her nursing duties at the now defunct Dunbar Cottage Hospital.

By 1955, the happy couple had two sons, Neil and Norman. Jean was eventually appointed district nursing sister in Dunbar and was renowned for going above and beyond the call of duty in the care of her patients. The larger-than-life nurse would think nothing of drawing pensions, delivering coal or putting to use her chiropody skills for those in her care.

Always in great demand for community functions and fundraisers, Jean launched her own slimming club and raised substantial funds for the town's RNLI and Belhaven Hospital. She also raised enough money to buy a defibrillator for the Western General.

Such was the high regard in which she was held in Dunbar, she was selected by the Rotarians for a special community award in 1981.

Four years later, when she was forced to take early retirement, then-councillor Stephen Bunyan gave an address praising her charitable attitude and patient commitment.

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A life-long member of Belhaven Parish Church, Jean enjoyed many years as a church elder.

Minister at the kirk, Reverend Lawrence Twaddle, said: "For me as a new young minister to have someone with Jean's generous heart, wise counsel and unfailing support by my side was a huge support and encouragement.

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"We loved her very much, and I used to tease her that she was worth her weight in gold . . . which was a lot of gold."

Sadly, Jean developed dementia and was cared for by Douglas for many years before being admitted to Belhaven Hospital. He visited his wife daily for four years before she died on October 18. They celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary at Belhaven Hospital in June.

Jean is survived by her husband, sons, and many grandchildren.