DR Kershaw’s Hospice has bid a fond farewell to its longest serving member of the nursing team - Kay O’Neill, who has worked at the hospice for over 29 years.

Kay has come full circle, retiring from her career where it all began back in 1990 when she was one of the first nurses to join the Day Hospice, recently renamed the Well-Being Centre.

She later moved to the wards when they opened just over twelve months later.

While at Dr Kershaw’s, Kay, who was already a qualified SEN nurse, trained to become a registered nurse.

Over the years she took on more responsibility working her way up to become ward manager, before recently reducing her hours and moving to the Well-Being Centre where she helped to provide holistic care for patients with long-term health conditions.

Alongside her professional skills, Kay has a range of other talents. She can often be found in the Well-Being Centre doing a manicure or two for patients.

She’s also a bit of an amateur actress, having taken part in the Hospice Christmas panto on numerous occasions, appearing as a ballerina, policeman and a Roly Poly to name but a few.

Kay has also been known to take on the role of Father Christmas, handing out presents to patients and staff.

Outside of work, Kay enjoys spending time with her husband Eamon, her son Liam, and their two Jack Russells, Jack and Ruby.

Kay met Eamon when she was working a weekend job at Wimpey’s in Oldham as a student.

They have known each other for over 35 years, finally tying the knot nine years ago on a trip to Las Vegas.

Kay and her husband are huge Elvis fans and Kay has also been known to don an Elvis outfit from time to time to raise funds for the Hospice. Kay and her husband love travelling and have, of course, done the obligatory Route 66 visiting Graceland and Memphis.

For many years they had a campervan which they took around the UK at every opportunity. They now have a static caravan in Winsford which is where they plan to retire to.

Recently, Kay persuaded her husband to part with some of his beloved Elvis memorabilia which she donated to Dr Kershaw’s.

The items were auctioned on eBay and raised £4,000 for patient care.

Julie Hague, ward sister, who has worked with Kay for more than 25 years said: “Kay has a quiet sense of humour. She is very professional in her day job, but has a great sense of fun.

"Kay is the sort of person who people trust and confide in. She will be a great loss to Dr Kershaw’s, both in her professional capacity, but also as a friend and colleague.”

Linda Algar, staff nurse, said: “Kay is a lovely, kind person. Over the years she has made a big impact on the nursing staff, patients and volunteers. We are incredibly sad to see her go, but hope that she will come to visit us whenever she has time.”

Adele Doherty, clinical matron, added: "I have known Kay for three years. Kay is a dedicated and well respected member of the Kershaw’s team. Her professionalism and experience will be sorely missed.

“On behalf of everyone at Dr Kershaw’s, we wish Kay all the best in her retirement. We hope that she will continue to visit as she will always be welcome at Dr Kershaw’s.”