Eileen Mack: nurse - and mainstay - at Savernake Hospital has died aged 78

Written by John & Peter Mack on .


Eileen was born in Bedford and educated at Bedford High School for Girls. Leaving with a modest five O-levels, she became a pool typist - which she quickly regretted.

Against her father’s wishes she determined to become a nurse and enrolled in the Birmingham Hospitals where she gained the qualifications of State Registered Nurse and also Children’s Nurse

In 1960 the Student Nurses of the Nursing College invited the neighbouring Teacher Training College Students to a Valentine’s Day dance wearing a blue dress with a red ribbon, and there she met John with his quirky sense of humour. They became life partners for 57 years.

They were married in 1962 and moved to Leighton Buzzard, where John had his first teaching job, with their two young children Peter and Jane. Eileen returned to work as a night nurse while John worked days teaching.

Next the family moved to High Wycombe where Eileen worked as a District Nurse for several years.

In 1973 the family moved to Burbage to a newly built house where John was able to realise his dream of becoming a guitar maker.

Eileen walked into Savernake hospital a few days later and quickly secured a job as Staff Nurse, shortly after becoming Sister of Lavington Ward.

At the time Savernake was a true cottage hospital supervised by the GPs of Marlborough Practice and visited by Consultants from the Princess Margaret Hospital in Swindon. It had 2 operating theatres offering various surgical procedures now only done in larger hospitals.

Eileen became Matron at Savernake and was known for her kindness, compassion and professionalism.

Dr Nick Maurice: “Eileen WAS Savernake Hospital for so many years and epitomised the welcoming and caring culture of the hospital and everything it stood for.”

Dr Andrew Reekie: “She was such a lovely and easy colleague in the hospital - efficient but always warm, sympathetic and fun to everyone”

Eileen’s family were always important to her. She has two children and six grandchildren. Three of them have followed Eileen’s lead into the NHS.

She always provided sumptuous meals for her wider family and was a committed knitter. Her designs included sweaters incorporating pictures of the family dog as well as dinosaurs and the Blue Peter Ship.

Following retirement Eileen and John travelled extensively taking in trips to Greek Islands, South Africa, the USA and New Zealand.

For a time, she joined Marlborough Golf Club and achieved a hole-in-one.  Eileen had many friends in Marlborough and was a keen member of three bridge clubs.

As a wife, mother, grandmother and friend she will always be loved - and will be greatly missed.

Eileen Mack died at Great Western Hospital on 17 November 2017.