A RETIRED NHS worker from Cookley has traced the father of a tragic student nurse to present him with a plaque in her memory.

Linda Blakemore has spent the last 18 months searching for the family of Jayne Mullen, a student nurse she worked with at the former Lea Castle Hospital, who died in 1987.

Jayne was tragically killed in a car accident during a trip to visit family in America at the age of 23.

A plaque was previously installed and a tree planted at the former hospital site in Jayne's memory.

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Linda, aged 67, who worked in the NHS for 38 years, launched an appeal to find Jayne's family to pass on the plaque amidst the development of 600 new homes on the site.

Lea Castle Hospital, which was previously a mental health unit, treated and assessed more than 600 people and was closed in 2008.

Now, Linda's search has come to an end after her appeal reached Jayne's father Tony Mullen, who lives in Coventry.

Tony, aged 78, was informed by a neighbour that Linda was trying to find the family via social media.

Jayne's father visited Linda in Cookley yesterday (Monday, January 13), to share memories and collect the memorial plaque.

Tony said: "It has been 30 odd years since I have been here. I used to come and see Jayne when she was living in the residential blocks.

He said he was "quite surprised" when he was contacted about his daughter's plaque.

Tony said: "It was like the past leaping forward very quickly.

"I had heard there was going to be a plaque with a tree, but I never heard the development of that.

"Jayne's funeral was a bit of a blur - I do remember some girls introducing themselves from Lea Castle."

Tony brought a picture of Jayne which was taken shortly before she passed away.

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Linda told Tony that people contacted her on Facebook to share their memories of his daughter.

She said: "Jayne's very well remembered. One person said on Facebook she had lovely blue eyes."

Tony added: "It is nice to hear now that people still remember her from 33 years ago - It really is lovely.

"Jayne liked people and had an affinity with people. She was never phased out with rolling her sleeves up and helping out straight away.

"I'll probably find some way of mounting the plaque on her grave so it can be with her all the time."

Linda said: "I am really pleased and excited that we have been able to do this. I can rest now.

"If we hadn't have found the relatives, we were considering putting the plaque on a bench.

"A lot of people went through Lea Castle, living and working. We did some really important work there."

Tony also presented Linda with a bouquet of flowers and thanked her for her help.