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Downshire was a haven for all

Shortly after I commenced nurse training at the Downshire Hospital in 1964, I got talking with an elderly gentleman who had retired as a 'keeperman' many years beforehand.

He told me how, as a young man, he had brought the patients out to work with local farmers - to the mutual benefit of both employers and patients.

Then the pendulum swung and patients remained for treatment within the grounds. Ever-so-gradually, a swing towards community care recommended occupational therapy, industrial therapy and community psychiatric nurses. But, regardless of the nature or direction of change, the hospital stood as a haven.

On Friday, March 16, 2012, the Downshire died. I'm proud to have played a small part in the Downshire's history and I gained more from it than it gained from me.

JOHN ORR

Seaforde, Co Down

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