While Nurse Leila may be gone, she has certainly not been forgotten. Several members from the West Bay community turned up at 7am on Saturday, 4 August to assist the National Trust for the Cayman Islands in paying respect to Nurse Leila’s memory and her home site.
This was the first clean up of the site since the property was recently purchased by the Trust. The clean up day was strongly supported by the National Trust’s West Bay District Committee led by Chairman Alice Mae Coe and Cayman Traditional Arts.
The group removed garbage, weeds and had larger branches reduced to mulch, said a National Trust press release.
Denise Bodden, Historic Programmes Manager at the National Trust and organizer of the work day, explained that the site was a vital part of the changing West Bay community. Nurse Leila’s home is a traditional Caymanian Wattle and Daub home, which is on a short list of such homes still standing. due to the lack of legislation to protect privately owned traditional and historic homes from demolition and the increase in island-wide development.
The structure is important as it is the place where Nurse Leila opened her private midwifery clinic after her years of service in the government hospital in George Town.
The late Nurse Leila Yates was a fascinating historical character as she greatly assisted in the medical advancements of the islands. She took great strides to educate herself in the nursing and midwifery field, was committed to helping others and had extensive knowledge in local medicinal plants. She was credited with having delivered over a thousand babies during her lifetime.
She worked with Dr. Overton and others notable individuals in the island’s small medical community.
The dedication to her work and the community thankfully were well appreciated as is evidenced by the Certificate and Badge of Honour she was awarded before her passing.
‘She is a shining example of Caymanian spirit and we would all do well to learn from historic figures such as Nurse Leila,’ the release noted.
Ms Bodden explained that while this clean up was a good start, having filled one dumpster with garbage and bush, the site will still require a few more work days to complete the clean up.
Any interested groups or individuals wishing to assist with future clean ups and/or in becoming active members of the National Trust West Bay District Committee to contact Denise Bodden at the National Trust for the Cayman Islands at 949-0121 or by email [email protected].