Health visitoir Joan says her farewells

PUBLISHED: 14:40 19 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:28 17 June 2010

ONE person who knows more young families in Sidmouth than most is health visitor Joan Boyer. She has tended to their health and welfare needs for 25 years at Blackmore Health Centre. With her 60th birthday approaching next week, Mrs Boyer said her goodbye

ONE person who knows more young families in Sidmouth than most is health visitor Joan Boyer.She has tended to their health and welfare needs for 25 years at Blackmore Health Centre.With her 60th birthday approaching next week, Mrs Boyer said her goodbyes at her final baby clinic on Monday, before retiring on Wednesday "in a puff of smoke on No Smoking Day!"For the last four years she has worked part-time, but feels 60 is the time to go. "I have worked with some really lovely staff here as well as those within the community, who have been fantastic over the years. I have learnt as much from families as they have from me," she said.After training as a nurse at St Mary's, Paddington, Mrs Boyer did a health visitor course, then worked in Hertfordshire for three years, had two children, Kate and James, then moved to Devon in 1983 after her marriage break-up."People forget Sidmouth has a number of young families, some of which have significant problems. I am responsible for them from the cradle to the grave, although my main focus is on families with children under five."The types of problems we deal with are more complex, so joint working with other agencies is essential."Mrs Boyer has worked on family workshops, a Sunday club for young boys needing a good male role model, helped set up a safe house for women fleeing domestic violence and establish a community therapy project for children and families with problems."We now undertake hearing screening on all newborn babies and, of course, support families with feeding, behaviour, sleep management issues and relationship difficulties."I have gained a lot of pleasure seeing families grow in ability and confidence and have had some very special, as well as sad and amusing, moments."Some of her first babies are now having children of their own."It has come full circle and it is lovely to see what they have achieved."With retirement come plans to see more of her granddaughter, learn to sail, go walking with friends, undertake adult education courses and gardening.

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