Noel Pursey Butler
13 August 1944 – 6 December 2006
Noel was born in Malvern, Worcestershire, England, and was the eldest of six children. With her father in the army the family lived in various countries including India and Germany. After her schooling she travelled to Nigeria and worked as a nanny then she joined the Queen Alexander’s Royal Army Nursing Corps to start her nursing training.
Noel loved the army life – the travel, sport, fun and friendship suited her outgoing, adventurous personality well.
Arriving in Australia as a ‘10 Pound Pom’ in 1971, Noel was employed as an Enrolled Nurse at The Campbell Hospital Coraki.
In the winter of 1972 Noel met her future husband Keith. They married in 1973 and have three children – Rebecca, Robert and Sarah. Noel gave up full-time work at the hospital while the children were little and was a wonderful, kind and loving mother.
At this time she did a little relieving work at The Regional Library in Woodburn and at The Cedars Nursing Home in Casino.
Living on a farm on a flood plain meant that Noel had many obstacles to face. During periods of extended flooding, she would catch the SES flood boat to the hospital and would stay in the nurses home so she could get to work each day.
As a true English lady, Noel was often on the losing side of numerous sporting events. After many matches she often had to buy a lottery ticket or soft drink after she had lost a small wager, as she always bet on the English side. But on the occasions that England won, the Union Jack flew proudly at her home.
Noel was very community minded – she was actively involved in NSW Cancer Council’s Nurse in a Million Quest, Save The Campbell Hospital Committee, the local Ti Tree Festival, numerous fundraising committees and was a member of The Coraki Historical Society.
In February 2006, Noel became a grandmother to Harrison, who brought her much pride and joy during the last few months of her life.
Noel died (Noel never believed that people passed away or were ‘lost’) on 6 December 2006 after a stoic five-month battle with cancer. Noel was still working when diagnosed.
Her very traditional British funeral was attended by her family, friends and work colleagues past and present.
Noel was affectionately known as ‘The Queen of The Royal Campbell’. She was a dedicated, caring nurse with a wonderful sense of humour and infectious laugh. She will be deeply missed by all those who had the privilege of knowing and working with her. She will live on in all our hearts.
Margaret Harris RN President, Campbell Hospital Branch, Coraki
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