Volunteer nurse presented with engraved watch

This watch was presented to Violet Torode, who volunteered to nurse smallpox patients isolated at Heddfan Hospital near Bridgend during the 1962 outbreak.

The inscription reads ‘South Wales Smallpox Outbreak 1962 – Volunteer Nursing – Presented to Nurse Violet A Torode’. Nurse Torode’s grand-daughter, Sarah Raybould, contacted the site to ask whether we knew anything about these watches.

‘The watch is just beautiful and a mark of the gratitude from the authorities to the nursing staff who put their own lives at risk during this time,’ she said. ‘The watch still does keep time, when wound up, though it is too precious to our family to wear it often.

‘Mam Torode (my grandmother) did not speak much about that time, in fact, she kept her stories to herself, in most respects so mum did not know too much about her experience then.

‘My mum was actually doing her nursing training up in Hammersmith Hospital when her mother volunteered and she said it was not spoken about.  I asked her if she’d been worried, and she said with the little information she’d been given, she hadn’t really worried about her mum, so it must have been pretty hush hush.’

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