28 FOCUS - OCTOBER 2018 -year-old Noreen “Toots” Malcolm did not want to miss the grand reopening of Port Perry Hospital, which was held at 9 a.m. on Wednesday September 5, so she got up before dawn. Well known and loved by the community, Toots founded the local hospital auxiliary in 1949, and she also served on the inaugural board of directors. When the first hospital opened on January 7, 1953, it was Toots, wearing her fancy new hat with the feather, who had the honour of handing the ceremonial scissors to Superintendent Frances Hincks to cut the wide red ribbon. She was there for the gala opening of the new hos- pital on Paxton St. in 1969, and it was vitally important for her to attend the historic grand re-opening. Lakeridge Heath Port Perry was rebuilt as a state-of-the-art facility during the year it was closed due to the fire of August 25, 2017. Toots was up at 5 a.m. on Sep- tember 5 to get bathed and dressed for the big day with the aid of her PSW. Her friend for 50 years, retired nurse Shirley Foster, arrived at 6:30 a.m. to help with her earrings and makeup. Transportation was an is- sue since Toots has been confined to a wheelchair since she broke her hip. The only taxi available was at 7:30 a.m., so they arrived at the hospital early enough for a tour before the of- ficial ceremony began an hour and a half later. “I was thrilled to be a part of it,” Toots said of the grand re-opening. Matt Anderson, President and CEO of Lakeridge Health, started his speech, praising Toots for her decades of dedication to the hospital. Shirley and Toots both enjoyed meeting and greeting many old friends, including doctors and nurses. “It was like old home week,” commented Shirley, who worked as a nurse at Port Perry hospitals for 47 years. “I check on Toots several times a week,” said Shirley, who is still a nurse at heart. A longtime resident of Blackstock, Toots now resides at Port Perry Villa. The twosome have so many in- teresting memories dating back to when the first hospital opened in Port Perry on Lila St., which is now the Port Perry Villa’s parking lot. It was nicknamed the TNT hospital because it was constructed from parts of buildings used as residences for munitions factory workers in Ajax, Ontario. The 32 heavy iron beds were so hard to crank up for mealtimes, nurse Shirley recalls. “Now you just push a button!” Shirley’s mother, Mildred Rodd, was one of many local women who sewed nighties and knit sweaters for newborns, and scrounged around for old sheets to sew together for the TNT hospital beds. This is an early example of how the local community rallied to help the lo- Retired nurse Shirley Foster and 95-year-old Noreen (Toots) Malcolm who cut the ribbon on our first hospital 65 years ago, with Matt Anderson. Another chapter in local history: TOOTS honoured at the grand reopening of Port Perry Hospital PHOTO BY MARYANN FLEMING