A FORMER night nurse at Melksham Hospital for 31 years has been laid to rest this week – and the Conservative Club in Melksham flew its flag at half-mast in her memory.

The funeral of Grace Littman, 86, was held on Tuesday at the West Wiltshire Crematorium at Semington. More than 70 family and friends attended, some coming from as far afield as Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and London.

Mrs Littman passed away peacefully at home in Thames Crescent, Melksham, on September 5. She leaves behind her husband Ray, two children, Mark and Jo, five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Grace was born October 2, 1930, the second daughter of Ernest and May Bradfield of Swindon. She was educated in Swindon and from an early age she dreamed of becoming a nurse.

But she was told throughout her childhood that this dream would not be possible due to being born with a severe curvature of the spine.

However, being a determined woman, she went ahead and applied to Cosham Hospital in Bristol and was accepted. Grace started on the children's ward as a nursing cadet aged 16.

A while later, due to nursing shortages, Grace was asked to transfer to Melksham Cottage hospital on July 5 1948 - the day the National Health Service was founded.

It was there that she met her future husband of 65 years, Ray Littman. They married in 1951 and settled down, Grace as a nurse and Ray as a farm worker in Beanacre.

In 1952 their first child Mark was born, closely followed by a daughter Kay, who sadly died, but then they were blessed with a second daughter Jo.

After having the children, Grace returned to work at Melksham Hospital, where she secured the position of Night Sister, a post she held for 31 years until she retired at the age of 59.

Mrs Littman was a long-standing member of the Conservative Club in Melksham and an avid knitter. She was well known for knitting her unique booties, which she sold in aid of the League of Friends for Melksham Hospital. She also actively supported the hospital by taking part in the yearly fete.

Grace was a keen dancer and was a very active member of the Women’s Institute in Beanacre, then Melksham WI and, lastly, as part of the Corsham WI market where her knitting and homemade cakes were always well received.

When Grace and Ray retired they travelled the world, including Australia, Venezuela, Sri-Lanka, Iceland and Canada among many other countries.

However Grace was happiest holidaying in the Isle of Skye; she and Ray visited the island yearly for 31 years and made many close friends there, the last trip being in July this year.

Her granddaughter Mrs Kaye Lawton said: “Grace was a family person. She will always be remembered as somebody who helped others if she could and someone who was always there for family, friends and even strangers alike.”

The Littman family has asked for donations in memory of Grace to be made to the Dorothy House Hospice care of Patrik Bewley, of DJ Bewley Funeral Directors, of 15 Bank Street, Melksham, SN12 6LE.