British nurse found home in Prince George

Retired registered nurse Ann Tiffany was born in York, England in 1933. She was raised and educated in York. After high school, she continued her education by completing her registered nurse training and went on to become a certified midwife. She was a pupil midwife for one year in the port city of Plymouth.

Ann explained, "Plymouth was bombed extensively during the war and housing was at a premium. Most babies were born at home in those days so we delivered them all over the place including run down apartments, in the spare bedrooms of grandparents or anywhere that there was space."

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After her training, both Ann and a fellow nurse were eager to travel so they decided to apply and immigrate to Canada. There were many work opportunities for trained nurses at the time and they were ready for an adventure.

It just so happened that before the paperwork was completed, both Ann and her friend met their respective husbands. They cancelled their applications and got married instead but the dream of Canada never left Ann.

Life in post-war England was not easy. Britain emerged victorious but bankrupt from the Second World War. The young couple opted to come to Canada thus fulfilling Ann's dream.

Ann said, "We arrived in Montreal by boat in 1964 and took the train west so we could see as much of Canada as possible. The trip took five nights and four days. We were in for a real culture shock on the first full day on the train as the only sign of life we saw from the window was that of one lone moose.

"Our destination was Prince George where we had friends. We had thought to stay for one week and then move to Vancouver. We liked the beautiful countryside of Prince George and the people were so warm and welcoming that we decided to stay.

"The timing was good as this was the year that the pulp mills came to town and the beginning of a boom period. My husband David landed a job as site engineer for the Northwood mill building project.

"Prince George was a small town back then and I can still remember shopping at Woolworths, the Northern Hardware store and Yip's grocery store.

"The Parkwood shopping mall was built that same year with Woodward's as their anchor department store. Who could forget their $1.49 day advertisement as we all swarmed to the store for their bargains."

Ann and David had three children - Philip, Jo-Ann and Rachael - and now have five grandchildren and three great grandchildren. They divorced in the 70s and Ann became a single parent.

She worked as an RN at the hospital for eleven years and then worked in a medical office because the regular hours were a better fit for the children.

She always found time to volunteer for the things that mattered to her such as the Red Cross Blood Donor Clinics.

Ann said, "The big trucks loaded with beds and all the supplies and equipment needed for the clinic arrived in Prince George from Vancouver. The clinic was set up in the old Civic Centre. We monitored and looked after the blood donors and offered them orange juice and cookies."

Ann was a member of Beta Sigma Phi and met many new friends at the meetings.

She enjoyed listening to the music of a mixed choir so she became a long-time member of the Cantata Singers. She said, "I am an active volunteer for the Prince George Symphony Orchestra. I love talking to the audience members as I collect their coats and hats and check them in. I am the coat check chick."

When Ann was in her 70s, she studied English and anthropology at the University of Northern British Columbia and earned her bachelor's degree followed by her master's degree.

Over the years, she wrote the occasional column for the Prince George Citizen and wrote about everyday life, the war years in England and what it was like when the lights came on again after the war was over. She has also written several short stories and a novel about Prince George during the war years.

Ann concluded and said, "I keep active and stay involved which I believe is the secret of a long and productive life."

***

A special November birthday greeting goes out to Jack Milburn who just turned 98. For his complete story see volume I of my book People of Prince George - the Foundation of our Community.

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