Anna Mention and Brother Nesto Garcia, extracts from interview

Anna: "When I came in 1972 to England All Saints was not clean, but it started to improve after that."

Nesto: "The nurses came from all over, Morocco, Danish, English, Colombia, France, Spain, Portugal. Eighty percent of the staff were from different countries ...

...the Mayor used to come in every Christmas Day to visit the patients, he would go to every hospital in Eastbourne ...

...in those days we never heard about shortage of money, if staff were off we just coped; people who came to work in the hospitals chose to do it and that was that"

Anna: "It was a nice hospital, beautiful years I had there ...

...when I came to England, I was 24, All Saints was my first job. I didn't speak much English but they made me welcome and showed me everything ...

...my heart goes to All Saints. I met my husband there and we were offered to marry in the chapel but we couldn't because it was Church of England and we are Catholics ...

...all the time nice, lovely patients ...

...in the 70's we didn't have any new equipment like macerators; the nurses washed the pans by hand, more hard work but you were more involved. People were more open, there was more friendship; now it's different and it's all about career, one job after another and you have got to look over your shoulder all the time. All Saints was friendly, I started as a domestic and stayed a domestic"

Nesto: "I started in 1995, I did my NVQ there and it took two years. I worked in Meads Ward upstairs; it had a lovely sun lounge facing the sea, the patients could go and sit there. It made a lot of difference to be able to see the view, small things become very important when you are in hospital for a couple of weeks. There was space, time for the patients, one to one ...

...much more rewarding for me and everyone else ...

...we all miss All Saints ...

...patients recovered quickly because there was space and time, it was like home. The patients were given individual treatment, there was always something happening; outings, quizzes, All Saints Club, little things to take the pain away ...

...to go every morning to work to that building was wonderful, such quality of brickwork and all the details"

Anna: "From any direction, All Saints had lots of green and pure air. I used to go down the sea and put my feet in at lunchtime and came back like new. I would take patients out in the wheelchairs in my own time down to the sea front or to the garden ...

... one time we saw the Red Arrows and the fireworks"

Nesto: "It was a quality of life ...

...there was a lot of discipline with the nursing, we worked more as a team, we had good leaders"

Anna: "We had good team leaders, they would come every day and ask you if everything was alright, that made a difference ...

...in the early days (70's) the garden was wonderful, and there was a wonderful orchard ...

...the kitchen was very big with lots of chefs, they had vegetables from the gardens. They used to cook for Princess Alice Hospital as well, then they closed the kitchen for refurbishment and after that, in the 90's, they started to bring in frozen food. 1.55 per head to feed patients, what can you do with that, it wasn,t the same, food is very important.

...Christmas was wonderful, the tables, the crackers, serviettes, little bit of wine; it looked so lovely. In All Saints everyone was together, a united family. ... we used to get the visitors involved as well. Some of the ladies used to cry when they had to go home"

Nesto: "I took the last patient from All Saints when it closed. He was a stroke patient from Devonshire Ward. It was very, very sad to see the last patient go after 135 years"

Anna: "I cried when I left All Saints, I started as a young girl and was there for thirty years ...

...I went all over All Saints ...

...there was a passage to Roselands Ward from the kitchen, I even climbed up to the roof, you could see all over Eastbourne. I knew every inch ...

...I remember the first lift, it was on the other side,it was old fashioned but it worked. In '72 when I started, there was no carpet, it was proper tiles, it was beautiful, I remember when I used to clean the stairs top to bottom. At one time, I'm proud to say, I took my polishing machine, and for two years I cleaned All Saints. The whole hospital cleaned by Anna Mention, a lady who cleaned All Saints ...

...I cleaned the picture of Byron down by the Chapel hundreds and hundreds of times. That lady did a wonderful job. I have that picture fixed in my mind ...

...I remember Merlyn on the top floor as a ward, then it became rooms for the domestics and then it was turned into nurses accommodation ...

...I helped to raise money for the All Saints Club. I raced a sponsored race on the seafront ...

...the children from St. Andrews school would come at Christmas to sing in the chapel and visit each ward, it was lovely at Christmas, every where decorated by the staff"

Nesto: "when people come into hospital they are very confused, hospitals make people confused, this makes it very difficult for them to recover. We encourage them to eat, to wash, to take care of themselves ...

...you have to make a connection with people, communication and goodwill."

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