LISTEN TO TINA APARICIO INTERVIEW HERE:
Tina was born in Trinidad on the 31 January 1925. She was a teacher in Trinidad for four years before deciding to train to become a nurse in England. She applied for nursing training in England and in August 1958 aged 33 left Trinidad on board the ship SS Colombie. An orchestra was playing as the ship left Port-of Spain and she recalled her sadness at leaving her mother and children behind.
On arrival in Plymouth Tina was met by her friend, Sybil Batson who was a district nurse midwife in Tilbury in Essex who recommended her for a job in Tilbury and Riverside Hospital. It was where Tina began her training in general nursing and midwifery. Once her training was completed Tina returned to Trinidad for what she had considered was “for good”. But while there she got a job to nurse an aristocratic lady, Lady Antonia Erskine, and accompanied her from Trinidad to the Royal Free Hospital in London. She told stories of her time nursing the aristocrat who was friendly with one of Winston Churchill’s daughter who lived in London and was a frequent visitor.
There were many stories of her work as a midwife delivering babies, and Tina spoke about the policy at that time where men were not allowed to witness births as it was regarded as a “woman’s business.”
Tina recalled how difficult it was to purchase her own home as she lived in an National Health Service (NHS) house allocated for nurses. Eventually she was able to buy the house after her retirement under right to buy policy which the then prime minister Margaret Thatcher brought in when she came to power during the 1980’s.
Having worked in Thurrock district for over 25 years and worked in other hospitals across London she was proud of her record of delivering over 2000 babies during this time. She felt she was part of a local community which saw her as family. Since her time in nursing she thinks standards has fallen. Although retired from nursing a long time ago she feels respected and recognised by people in the community even today.