Star's social media page helps reunite friends

May 13th, 2017 12:31 PM

By Southern Star Team

The friends pictured in the 80s: Carmel Pendlebury, Eileen Dooley, Helen McKay (centre), Fiona Egan and Carmel Ward.

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A Carrigaline woman who says she is ‘anti’ social media has ironically been reunited with friends who put out a call to find her, through The Southern Star’s Facebook page.

By Kieran O’Mahony


A CARRIGALINE woman who says she is ‘anti’ social media has ironically been reunited with friends who put out a call to find her, through The Southern Star’s Facebook page.

Now, thanks to social media, Helen McKay (nee O’Donovan) has been re-united with a group of nurses that she trained with – just in time for their 30th anniversary reunion.

Helen, who now lives in Richmond in Yorkshire, said it was a huge surprise when she heard of the Facebook post by her former nursing colleagues who she had trained with in the Orsett Hospital in Essex, England in the late 80s.

‘It was my first cousin who sent me a link to it, as I’m not on social media and I’d describe myself as actually being ‘anti’ social media, despite my husband Ian being on it. It was a huge surprise to see the post and lovely to see the picture of me with the girls, although I can’t say I have very fond memories of all that hair!’ Helen told The Southern Star.

‘I would definitely love to meet up with them all for the 30-year reunion next year that they are planning, and I’m really grateful to everyone for going to the trouble of tracking me down. When we qualified in nursing in England back then, we all went our separate ways with some remaining in England, while others returned home to Ireland,’ she explained.

Fiona Johnston, one of Helen’s former colleagues, contacted The Southern Star to see if Helen could be located through the paper’s Facebook page and that maybe some of her family might see it. The only information Fiona had on Helen was that she was from Cork and that they had last heard she was nursing at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in 1998. With the help of a picture that they included in the post, it wasn’t long before Helen heard about it.

‘We never dreamt it would be successful so quickly and it will just be wonderful to get back together and reminisce about our training days. We went through a lot together as a group at such a young age, and we are very grateful to The Southern Star for reuniting us,’ said Fiona.

Since the post went up on Monday it has been shared over 900 times, as followers sought to re-unite Helen with her friends. 

‘I actually stayed in the UK after I finished my training and I found out from my mother who lives in Carrigaline that our course leader, Margaret Curran, is living there now,’ said He len. ‘We had  fantastic training at the hospital and it would be great too to meet up with Margaret at next year’s reunion.’

After seeing how helpful social media was in tracking her down, Helen said that she might just consider joining Facebook after all.

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