Gertrude Violet Fitt
Hilary Roadley from a variety of sources
She was born on 1 March 1895 in Norwich to parents James & Ellen Fitt. She died on 30 March 1985 (Cambridge) at the age of 90.
She began her career in 1919 in a hospital at Margate but later moved to Derby. After completing her general training she went on to qualify as a Queen’s Nurse. She was a District nurse for 24 years and estimated she had helped deliver 800 babies.
Nurse Fitt lived in 1 Manor Close (next to the Northrops) during her working life in Harston. She was the District Nurse for our village and 6 others in the 1930s and 40s- starting here around 1934. Many remember Nurse Fitt checking children for nits as she regularly made school visits for this and to check for infectious diseases. She initially cycled around to visit people, but later went around in her little brown car. She was off work ill Nov 1936-Jan 1937 and despite having to have one of her fingers amputated had very pluckily returned to work and felt she coped as well as ever.
She would attend the Harston & District Infant Welfare Centre which met fortnightly.1939-40 work load increased in very aspect but she coped very capably. In the 1940s, despite the extra war pressures, she visited double the number of evacuees, and at the Centre carried out many of the diphtheria vaccinations initiated for local children, additionally filling in over 600 milk forms. This extra work load continued during the war. In 1943 she was gifted a new bicycle by the Committee in recognition of her generous and sympathetic services. Nora C W Powell in 1944 put on record the gratitude felt for the work done by Nurse Fitt “who never spares herself, and deals understandingly and efficiently with all the different problems of her work for her patients”. In 1947 it was noted that despite the appalling weather conditions Nurse carried out her work and her small car kept on the road even with the use of chains.
Joyce Carter (nee Pluck) said ‘Nurse Fitt lived on the left side after you enter Manor Close and all the children went to her with their cuts. She rode around on her bike visiting the villages but later got a car’. The latter was provided by the Nursing Association in 1936. They also provided equipment and uniform. Records show she made roughly over 3000 surgical, medical and maternity visits a year as well as school visits once a week with many follow up home visits (approx 1,500) including responding to enquiries about infectious diseases and school dental refusals. She also provided anti-natal care and looked after infant health. Nurse Fitt was the sole nurse for 17 years until her retirement on 31 March 1951 when she received a fireside chair from the Child Welfare Centre, a gift that members of the Centre had subscribed to in appreciation of her work. She hoped to spend time on her hobby of weaving.
A tribute to Gertrude Violet Fitt by Hilda Want in parish magazine May 1985 just after her death:
In 1949 I first came into contact with Nurse Fitt. A friend who lived in Little Shelford gave birth to triplets. It was not expected to be a multiple birth. They were born prematurely before Dr Webb could reach her, so consequently Nurse Fitt delivered all three single-handed. Nurse Fitt became a friend, heroine, and angel to that family, a sentiment that is echoed through many families in the surrounding villages.
We moved to Queen’s close in 1951. Soon afterwards we were delighted to find that Nurse Fitt, Doreen and Susan – her nieces – had moved into a house very near ours. Nurse Fitt had started her retirement, and was taking an active interest in all that was going on around. Many of us have seen her beautiful embroidery, and many of the hassocks in the Parish Church were made by her. She served on various committees in the village.
During recent years as she became housebound, then chair bound, she remained alert and cheerful. Our thoughts at this time are with her family, especially Doreen who has nursed her throughout.