ONE of Carlisle’s longest serving district nurses has died aged 106.

Helen Pearson was born in 1914 on a farm in Richmond Plains near Sebergham.

She helped her father during the 1930s with his taxi and bus service business.

At the outbreak of the second world war, her life was changed forever.

She was recruited by the Ministry of Labour and National Service under the Nurses and Midwives (Registration for Employment) Order 1943 and was given the choice between becoming a bus driver or a nurse.

Helen chose the latter and after the war she continued to serve as a nurse.

She was present at a dinner dance to celebrate the inception of the NHS in 1948.

Helen later became a district nurse and served the Carlisle area until her retirement in the late 1970s.

She was described as a “very good district nurse” who was “very dedicated to her patients” by colleagues.

Her upbringing seemed to prepare Helen for a career in nursing, as being the youngest of three siblings, she was forced to stay at home to help her parents.

She continued helping her parents until she was called up to help the war effort.

Her early love life life saw her date a man from Ireby.

He was sadly killed during World War Two serving in the RAF.

She never married.

“Helen was very much a family person,” her nephew Phillip Pearson recalls.

“She was driving until she was in her 90s and could look after herself well into her 90s.

“In her later years she needed help with shopping and in the last four years she had carers from One to One Five Star Care, who attended three times a day to help with meals and deal with any medical issues.

"Helen was still very independent and self-reliant."

Helen's family heaped praise on the indepedent care company who looked after her.

Helen remained at home in Durdar Road until the days leading up to her death.

Between 1943 and 1954 she rented properties in Carlisle, before she bought a property with her friend and fellow nurse Eileen Hallam.

“They lived together until Eileen died in 2003, she lived alone after that,” continued Phillip.

He explained that Helen began to struggle during the last year of her life.

“This last year hasn’t been great for her. My two sisters were working at the hospital so weren’t able to visit her after March.

“She felt very cut off. I was visiting but was the only family member visiting at that time.

“That was starting to get to her.

“She had carers in to help three times a day, which she appreciated, but it’s not the same as another relative.”

Phillip speculates about why Helen dedicated her life to nursing.

“Maybe it was a family thing, both my sisters are nurses," he explained.

“When she moved to Sebergham she moved in with grandparents and she will have looked after them until she was 16 or 17.

“After that she will have probably looked after her parents.”

After retirement Helen helped out at a filling station on London Road in Carlisle.

Phillip recounts one scary memory for Helen.

“She would take the takings home and bring the money the following morning.

“Her brother Tom used to follow in the car to make sure she got home safely.

“On one occasion she was followed by people wanting to relief her of the takings. She fought them off until Tom arrived.”

She died peacefully at the Cumberland Infirmary on September 28.

Helen was a much-loved sister of the late Ada, Nora, Tom, Frank and John, dearly loved aunt and great-aunt.