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Leaving a lasting legacy: Gwen Kirby

Gwen Kirby’s predecessors may not have attended Great Ormond Street Hospital’s (GOSH) committees and board meetings, but that did not stop this matron from finding a place at the table.

Gwen Kirby’s predecessors may not have attended Great Ormond Street Hospital’s (GOSH) committees and board meetings, but that did not stop this matron from finding a place at the table.

Determined to find a way into the hospital’s senior meetings, she commandeered the tea trolley and served drinks to the hospital’s nursing committee and ‘sat down and joined them – no-one at the table asked her to go away,’ said Sally Moyes, Ms Kirby’s niece.

‘From then on, she was included in all the meetings. She was good at getting what she wanted.’

She attended every nursing committee from 1950, the year she became a matron at GOSH, and every Hospital for Sick Children Board of Governors’ meeting from 1953, until her retirement in 1969.

Ms Kirby’s journey into nursing started in 1933 at the age of 21 when she

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