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Chox away for 'mum' - hospital favourite
Buy this photo » Chox away for 'mum' - hospital favourite
FOR more than a quarter of a century Paula White has been the reassuring smile and warm welcome that greets some of Oxfordshire’s sickest children.
She has watched from the front desk at the Oxford Children’s Hospital (Chox) as they flourish under the expert care, and grow into healthy adults.
Now Mrs White, from Cowley, is bidding a tearful but fond farewell to the team which have become her ‘family’ during her 26 years at the hospital and the legions of children whose fears she has eased.
The grandmother-of-two, who is affectionately known as ‘mum’ or ‘the boss’ to her colleagues and to patients and their families, retired yesterday surrounded by well wishers.
She said: “I have loved every minute of my time here.
“It is the children I will miss. Obviously when they have their first appointments they can be very apprehensive and a bit nervous.
“I just love it when they come in and I can be ‘the face’ of the hospital and make them more relaxed and at ease.
“Especially for the children who have to come back.
“You do build a bond with them and their parents.
“There were a few tears when they found out I was leaving, even from the mums.
“For me that says it all.”
The 61-year-old was treated to a party by colleagues and patients to mark her retirement.
Ten-year-old Jack Maher from Wolvercote, pictured below, has been to the hospital at least twice a year since he was born.
He said: “I think she is really helpful and really kind. She is always happy when I go in and always gives me a hug when I bring her some cakes. I’ll miss her.”
His mum Sarah Simpson said: “It won’t be the same without her.”
Caroline Stone has worked with Mrs White for 15 years and said her dear friend will be sorely missed.
The paediatric phlebotomist said: “Paula has been there through all our highs and lows.
“She is just such a lovely lady and she has quite a following of children who love her. If anyone has got a problem you go and see Paula. She will put it right. “There will be a huge hole when she’s gone.”
Mrs White said she will spend her retirement with her family and helping her daughter Lisa, 37, prepare for her wedding.