Celebrating May’s miracle for International Women’s Day

Written by: Alison Reijman Published: March 11, 2023

Wednesday 8th March was International Women’s Day. To celebrate, we asked residents in our care homes and extra care accommodation to tell us what invention or innovation changed their lives.

For 105-year-old May Morris who lives at Brendoncare Knightwood Mews in Chandlers Ford, the heart pacemaker which she received the day before her 90th birthday not only changed her life, it saved it.

May recalls: “I can remember exactly when I had my pacemaker fitted because I had my 90th birthday the next day. I just spent the one night in Southampton General Hospital just to make sure it was working okay. I always remember it because the nurses and patients made a fuss of me because it was my birthday.

“It took them two years before they discovered what was happening. I had monitors 24 hours a day, sometimes for a week, but never did they pick up any problems. It used to be dreadful. I used to get so giddy and then I would faint because it was so horrible. It was really unpleasant.

“Then, all I can tell you is that once they put it in, that was all over. I was perfectly well and it really was a whole new lease of life for me. I have had no trouble ever since.

“Afterwards, I had to go every year into hospital to get it checked then every six months as I got older. A couple of years ago, I had my pacemaker replaced and now I have some monitoring instrument, which is on my bedside table with a light, which means I don’t have to go to hospital. It is a miracle. Without my pacemakers, I would have been dead years ago.”

May has lived at Knightwood Mews for 10 years, moving there with her husband Douglas who passed away four years ago. She has two daughters, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, the youngest of whom is 24, who are regular visitors.

Before World War 2, she worked for Vickers Supermarine in Shore Road, Hythe, Hampshire, where she was the only female aircraft parts inspector there.

After Supermarine left the site, she moved over to Woolston in Southampton to work at the new Itchen Works then returned to Hythe to work for British Power Boats located next to Supermarine.

There she met Douglas and they married at Lyndhurst Register Office settling down in Holbury near Hythe, where she brought up their family, then Sholing and Chandlers Ford. They then spent 20 years in Bolton, Lancashire, when Douglas got a job up there. They later returned to Holbury then moved to Knightwood.

“I am just enjoying life now. I have a lovely family, and all the carers here are the best. They are all very good to me and it makes all the difference. I have lots of friends here too.

“I have a lovely apartment here which has a double balcony and my daughters keep it looking beautiful.”