Laura Cunningham, a Specialist Motor Neurone Disease Nurse with the Department of Neurosciences, bid farewell to colleagues and was presented with cake, gifts, and a special photo wall charting her life over the past four decades – and was even played out of the building by a piper.
Laura, 62, who had worked within the MND service for 17 years before her retirement, was overcome with emotion at the sight of the piper and colleagues who turned out to wish her well in a socially distanced manner.
She said: “It’s all so overwhelming. I can’t believe everyone has gone to so much trouble. It’s been such a humbling day.
“It’s hard to express my appreciation for the friends I’ve made and the support I’ve been given on my journey. There is a wonderful team spirit here, especially over the past year. People are always there for each other.
“It’s so lovely that everyone has come together like this. I can’t thank them enough.”
Laura’s boss – Marie Austin, Lead Nurse, Medical Specialities Neurosciences, Rehabilitation and Spinal Injuries – had her own farewell message.
“Laura has been a fantastic role model and advocate, and she has been exceptional at delivering person centred care to MND patients,” she said. “This role requires inner strength to help support MND patients on their journey and ensure their physical, emotional and spiritual care needs are met.
“Laura has worked within the NHS for almost 40 years and today we acknowledged the difference she has made to the lives of patients, relatives and co-workers. We wish Laura a happy and healthy retirement.”
But what does Laura have planned for her newfound free time?
“I’ll definitely be spending more time with my partner Alistair, and children Gail, Ross and George. And gardening. I was given a rowan tree and a tea tree as part of my leaving gift, so my first priority will be planting them. I was also given some Champagne and prosecco, and a lovely bottle of gin, so I’ll make sure to raise a glass to my former colleagues too.”