Nurse writes book recalling years at mental hospital

Malcolm Langley from Seaham with his autobiography "Straight from the Jacket", he worked as a mental health nurse in Sunderland.
Malcolm Langley from Seaham with his autobiography "Straight from the Jacket", he worked as a mental health nurse in Sunderland.
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A RETIRED nurse has put pen to paper to record his years working at Sunderland’s Cherry Knowle Hospital.

Malcolm Langley, pictured, spent his career caring for mental health patients across Wearside and East Durham.

Now he is recording tales from his time on the wards in a book.

Straight from the Jacket: An Autobiography of an Ordinary Bloke was written over a four-year period.

It chronicles his early years growing up in Seaham, the death of his father Norman in a pit disaster at Dawdon Colliery when he was 10 years old, through to his early days as a cadet nurse.

As well as recalling his time at Cherry Knowle Hospital, he also records his work as a community psychiatric nurse, where he worked in the Ryhope and Seaham areas helping people in their homes.

Names and details have been amended to ensure no private information is revealed.

The book also touches on the heartache he and his family faced when his mum Mary, who died in 2004, began to suffer from Alzheimer’s and they had to deal with the decision to put her in to a home where she could be given the help she needed.

The 55-year-old, from Dalton Heights in Seaham, also recalls the light-hearted, happy and amusing times, particularly his role as a referee with the Durham FA and his part in the hospital football and cricket teams.

Malcolm, who married community psychiatric nurse Nicola, 48, after they met through work, has already sold 250 copies of the book.

All money raised twill be divided between St Benedict’s Hospice and Grace House Hospice.

Malcolm, who has a daughter, Claire, 22, a biomedical student, said: “A lot of people have put in orders who I used to work with or still work at the hospital and I think they want to find out if they’re in it.

“But as well as that, I read autobiographies and they’re all of famous people, never someone who’s just an ordinary person, and that’s what gave me the idea.”

The book will be officially launched at The Mallard pub in Stockton Road, Seaham, on Friday, May 4, at 7pm.

The books cost £10 and can also be ordered from Malcolm on 07961 896 893.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham


Comedian Jo Brand worked as a psychiatric nurse before making it as a stand up and has used her experiences to pen her autobiography Look Back in Hunger and as a writer on BBC hospital comedy Getting On.

Dave Spikey was a biomedical scientist in the haematology department of Bolton General Hospital before he became famous as a comedian and wrote his life story in My Life Under the Microscope.

Harry Hill, who trained as a doctor, has penned several books, including a spoof memoirs, Livin’ the Dreem A Year In My Life.

Former Durham University chancellor Bill Bryson worked in a psychiatric hospital in London before beginning his career as a journalist and writer, and wrote his autobiography Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.

Staff nurse Abi Titmuss turned her attentions to modelling, acting and writing, with the Secret Diaries of Abigail Titmuss among her publications.

Van Halen singer Dave Lee Roth worked as a hospital orderley before making it big with the band and recorded his life story in Crazy From The Heat.