Set 17 40th Year Reunion


On 8th September 1980, 59 young women and 1 young man started our nurse training together at Barts, meeting for the first time that day and embarking on a journey which none of us would forget. After 3 years most of us had gone our separate ways, some keeping in touch over the years since and many hadn’t, but finally on Saturday 2nd September 2023 (despite rail strikes!) we met up again to celebrate 43 years since we started, and 40 years qualified.

The Barts 900-year Anniversary celebrations and a PTS photo of our Set posted by Tracey Matchett (née Dunsby) on Facebook were the catalysts for organising the reunion. I started by getting help from Jane Beckford (née Lothian) who organised the last reunion in 2015, Jane Jones (née Sheldrake) and Jo Carroll, then we set up a WhatsApp group and searched for others. Assisted by intrepid detective skills (who knew Barts’ nurse training equipped you with so many transferrable skills!), and the power of the internet we managed to find 47 of Set 17! We were a large Set and sadly some had left before the end of our training, but we even managed to locate a few of those too.

On the day 33 of us met up for a buffet lunch at the Fox & Anchor, Clerkenwell, an old haunt for some, and 6 ‘Zoomers’ joined us from Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Manchester, and Essex. It was great to meet after so many years, there was a fantastic buzz within the room, catching up on our careers, families, and lots of reminiscing, sharing photos, stories from our student days at Hackney, St Leonard’s, Barts and all the other hospitals. Remembering the ward sisters some who frightened us and some who inspired us, the friendships we shared, fond memories of patients we nursed and yes not forgetting those 1980’s parties!

Some of us walked over to Barts square, had photos in front of the fountain and the Barts Nurses Rose followed by visiting the ‘new’ hospital atrium where King George V Block stood and all the wards we remembered. So many memories came flooding back.

Special thanks to Jo Hunt (née Davey) who made everyone a Set 17 Reunion memorabilia gift: cross stitch bookmark, a Christmas tree decoration, or a lavender bag. We also managed to make a donation to the League’s Benevolent Fund. Also, thanks to Karen Appleton (née Kelly) who is putting together a Set 17 Reunion Book for everyone.

It was so lovely to see everyone so animated and reconnecting after 40 years.
Wendy Sturt (née Ringwood)