The sun shone and the venue was the Hilton Bristol Hotel where exactly one hundred people gathered for a very special occasion. The guests had come from far and wide to celebrate the 100th birthday of a very special lady; namely, Sybil Moores BEM. Many of those reading this may not instantly recognize the name, but when you realize that we are talking about Sister Davison, later to be Matron of the Dental Hospital, most dental staff and graduates from the 1970s and before should now have a very clear picture of the lady in question.

Sybil’s birthday was on the 26th of August 2015 and the immediate event was celebrated with her family in Bristol where she still lives independently in her flat in Clifton. Such, however, is the respect and affection shown to her, particularly by her ‘girls’, that throughout her years of retirement a small but dedicated group of them have ensured that all of the significant milestones in her life so far have been appropriately celebrated. Following this tradition, the same small group under the leadership of Vicki Townsend could not let such a significant birthday pass without an equally significant party to celebrate it and this was duly done on Sunday, September 6th.

Along with a small group of Sybil’s family and non-dental friends the guest list of one hundred was made up mainly of the nurses who had trained at Bristol Dental Hospital during her reign from 1952 to 1976. Many of these had married and were accompanied by former Bristol dental students who had also experienced her eagle-eyed supervision. The remainder comprised retired dental and medical consultants and staff who had worked with her. A sign of the respect and affection shown for Sybil was the distance travelled by some of the guests to attend the event, not only from the far reaches of the UK, including Scotland and Guernsey, but one who had come all the way from Canada.

Lunch was preceded by a short reception and the excited hubbub that accompanies the renewing of old acquaintanceships; the noise level only dropping when everyone sat to enjoy the excellent food. Towards the end of the meal Sybil was invited to cut a giant birthday cake embellished by three large candles showing the number 100. Lunch was then concluded with a few words from Ken Marshall to celebrate the occasion and pay tribute to a “one in a million” lady. Matron was then presented with flowers and a specially engraved crystal vase.

There then followed what was probably one of the highlights of the occasion. Vicki asked anyone who had any special anecdotes concerning their experiences as trainee nurses or students during Sister/Matron’s time at the Dental Hospital to share them. The microphone was then passed around and what emerged was a highly amusing and revealing half hour or so.

Sybil was then able to meet up with many of those present, who also had the opportunity to renew old friendships and exchange memories of sometimes best-forgotten exploits. The final tribute to the success of the event was the general realisation that, having gone into lunch at 1.15 pm, the next time most people looked at their watches it was almost five o’clock.

We look forward to the 105th!

Ken Marshall & Vicki Townsend

The guests included, in no particular order:

Reg Andlaw, Ken Marshall, Peter Easton, Reg Bleakman, David Baker, Geoffrey Burton, Trevor and Yvonne Thomas, Chris Stephenson, Maureen Erskine (Mahood), Clive Jenkins, Catherine Gunnery, Hugh Willis and Rod Young.

Here is a picture of how some, of a certain age, may remember Sister. Click on the image for the full-size version.

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More photographs of the event may be viewed by clicking here.