I was born in a small village in St Kitts, where everyone knew everyone. I am one of 12 children, and the first girl in my family. My parents weren’t rich but they sacrificed and paid for me to be educated at the prestigious City High School. After I left school at 18, I worked at an insurance company, a newspaper and in the Ministry of Tourism and Development as a civil servant. One day I saw an advertisement for training as a nurse in England. I felt the time had come for me to fly the nest.
My sister was three years older than me, and she was already across here at St James’ doing her training. She made the base for the rest of us. She used to be always telling us about patients, the funny things that had happened to her, and being at her first delivery of a baby. I found all of that interesting and I thought, ‘Well I would quite like to do something like that as well.’
My older sister was already a nurse in Yorkshire and got the application forms for me and a friend; two of us went over together in 1957.
When my brother was little, an ambulance came to take him to hospital. I remember the ambulance pulling into our street and I saw this nurse sat in the front and I thought, ‘What a wonderful job. I would love to do that.’ I was only seven or eight years old at the time, but that thought kept in my mind. I kept telling my mum, ‘I would like to be a nurse.’
Dr Khushru Mancherji Mehta
Dad was born in the town of Bharuch, in Gujarat in 1919, a regional centre of commerce on the Namada River. His father, an accountant, ran a company importing coconuts. One of nine children he loved sport especially swimming, which he did surreptitiously against his parents’ wishes after a friend died of drowning.
My father was a senior physician in Poland when the Second World War began. He spent the war fighting the Russians on the Eastern Front where he was arrested and sent to one of Stalin’s labour camps.