A SOUTH Lakeland health visitor who has touched the lives of many families has retired after 30 years of service.

Chris Thornton held her last surgery at Leck Village Hall, where she was surrounded by mums to whom she has given support and advice.

Throughout her career she has worked around much of the area, serving in Kendal, Windermere, Milnthorpe, Arnside, Sedbergh and most recently, Kirkby Lonsdale.

She estimates that she has visited almost 2,000 new babies – and she will miss meeting the families.

The 57-year-old, who lives at Clawthorpe, near Burton-in-Kendal, said: “I am fortunate to have had such a satisfying job, and I have lots of fond memories.

“Some people have had four or five children so you get to know them well, and they almost feel like part of the family – you’re not meant to but you get quite involved.”

Amanda Gorton, of Kirkby Lonsdale, praised Chris for her help through a difficult time after having daughter Emma, now seven.

“Chris was just so helpful and caring when I had Emma and my two-year-old son, Hester,” she said.

“I had post-natal depression after Emma and was really struggling, and Chris would call me up and check I was OK.

“Being a mum herself she would offer insider knowledge. She will be missed a great deal.”

Claire Venys-Moran, also of Kirkby Lonsdale, added: “My son Cameron had bilateral hip dysplasia and my daughter Isabella was born six weeks premature.

“Both times Chris put us in touch with the right people and those with previous experience of similar problems. The support she gave was just like that you’d get from a friend.”

Chris said she was now looking forward to ‘having a rest’.

She said: “I am going to just relax. We live in such a lovely place and I love being outside so I’ll be walking the dog a lot.”