MILDRED Heyward is truly the queen of nurses.

The care home manager is celebrating her golden jubilee after an incredible 50 years in the nursing profession.

And the 68-year-old says she has no plans to retire despite notching up her half-century.

She pledged: “I will carry on because I like caring for people.”

Born and raised in Cefnybedd, Mildred became involved in health care at a young age.

As a teenager she was a member of the Red Cross and at weekends volunteered at the Maelor Hospital.

She then took a pre-nursing course at Denbighshire Technical College and, determined to move away from home, started work as a cadet at Chester Royal Infirmary.

“But I left after six months because I was homesick, and so went to the War Memorial Hospital in Wrexham,” she remembered.

In the following years she moved up from staff nurse to night sister, moving between the Maelor and War Memorial Hospitals.

During that time she worked in the ENT ward at the Maelor and the emergency unit at the War Memorial. She returned to ENT as nurse manager, also taking responsibility for the ophthalmology unit – eventually becoming bed manager for the whole hospital.

She said: “After 38 years in the NHS I moved to be deputy matron of a nursing home in Hope. Then I was head-hunted by the nuns to come to Nazareth House as matron.”

That was in 2000 and three years later Nazareth House, originally a home for the elderly and for unmarried mothers, was acquired by Pendine Park.

It is now called Hillbury House and is run by Mildred.

She said: “When I came here I managed 16 beds and now there are 68 nursing and residential beds.

“It is the caring side of things I enjoy as well as the day-to-day involvement with the residents.”

She is in her office by about 8.15am most days and doesn’t usually get away until about 5.30pm – but she does have most weekends off.

And as she walks through the corridors the mutual affection between her and residents is clear.

Mildred said: “This is their home and that must be remembered at all times. They must all be treated as individuals.”

Proprietor Mario Kreft paid tribute to Mildred’s dedication and professionalism.

He added: “She is a shining example for people starting out in the care profession – she is the queen of nurses.”