BETWEEN them they have clocked up more than 100 years of NHS service.
But after treating thousands of patients and helping to diagnose all kinds of illnesses, Jim and Annie Strudwick are finally hanging up their overalls.
The husband and wife, who live in Gordon Road, Emsworth, were a popular duo as they both worked for decades in the laboratory at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester.
Jim, 74, retired in March while Annie, 71, called it a day two years ago.
‘It’s been a fascinating transition of medicine,’ said Annie.
‘We have watched the whole thing evolve.’
Jim, a biomedical scientist, said: ‘We have both contributed greatly to saving lives and diagnosing illness.’
Their medical careers started aged 10 when they joined the St John Ambulance, with Annie in the Emsworth division and Jim in the Chichester division.
Jim said: ‘In the 1950s there were no paramedics or professional ambulance service as there is now.
‘Ambulances were run by voluntary organisations such as St John and the Red Cross.
‘In the early days, we never had radio. We used to go out in the country and do exercises and do what was necessary to take people to hospital.’
Jim joined the staff of St Richard’s Hospital in 1955 as a junior scientist in the pathology laboratory.
The couple met in 1960 when Annie, nee Layton, was working on the children’s ward as a nurse and Jim was carrying out tests on patients.
The pair laughed as they recalled how the little girl Annie had on her lap during the moment they met said “that man likes you”.
They have two children, Chris, 51, and John, 49, and five grandchildren. Both remain ardent supporters of the NHS.
‘It’s a darn good thing,’ said Annie.
‘You hear the worst, but how many times do you hear the good things? Thousands of patients have been cured.’
Jim was awarded a 50-year silver medal for services to science by the Institute of Biomedical Science and both were awarded long-service certificates by the NHS.
Jim will continue his work with the NHS as chairman of Emsworth Patient Participation Committee and campaigning for a new medical centre on the site of the old Emsworth Victoria Cottage Hospital.