Tributes for a lifetime in health care

Jill Honan in her uniform
Jill Honan in her uniform
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The family of a nurse who devoted her life to helping the people of Blackpool today paid tribute to a “caring” woman.

Jill Honan was the first trainee nurse ever taken on at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where she rose to the ranks of assistant nursing director during a 39-year career there.

Jill Honan, a former matron at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, on her 80th birthday.

Jill Honan, a former matron at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, on her 80th birthday.

She also helped to found Trinity Hospice, where she sat on the board.

Mrs Honan, who spent most of her life on the Fylde coast, before moving to stay with relatives in Nottinghamshire in 2010 when her health started to deteriorate, died on May 7, aged 83.

Her brother-in-law, Derek Weir, said: “She was the last matron at the Vic.

“She started as a student nurse and went all the way through – she was well-loved by everybody in the area.

She cared for her family and held down her job as a matron

“She was hard-working –she cared for her own mother and father, her husband and her auntie and held down her job as a matron.

“She was a wonderful person.”

Mrs Honan, one of five siblings, enjoyed a varied career in the NHS.

On one occasion she had to climb up the Grand National ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach to help a man who was trapped.

Mr Weir said he remembers seeing a family photo of her in action, adding: “Jill went up there with the fireman to release him.”

He also recalled one of her proudest moments as she saved the life of a boy who had been stabbed by his brother.

He said: “Staff at the hospital thought it was superficial.

“Jill was doing her rounds and straight away said it was serious.

“She called for the crash team and they were in the operating theatre straight away.

“If it hadn’t been for her, he would have died and the brother could have gone down for murder.”

Mr Weir said her passion for helping others did not end when she left work.

He added: “She was one of the founding members of Trinity Hospice and was on the board there.”

Having left Hull at the age of three, Mrs Honan spent most of her youth in Appleton le Moor, Yorkshire.

She moved to Blackpool when she took the job at the Vic and retired to Penruddock, in the Lake District, after her husband died.

As her health suffered in her later years, she moved in with her sister Ann and her husband Derek.

She spent the last 18 months of her life in the Branthwaite Care Home, in Retford, where she died peacefully on May 7.

Her funeral will take place at St Chad’s Church, Poulton, on May 21 at 1.15pm.