IT MAY be more than a quarter of a century since they trained together, but for this group of nurses the memories were still fresh.

Twenty-five members of the class of 1974-77 met up for a reunion at Southampton General Hospital's Truffles restaurant, including one who travelled from the US.

They started their nursing career the year the modern uniforms were introduced, a development unpopular with most of the course.

Organiser Jane Giles, who is now a health visitor in Buckinghamshire, said: "When we applied for training we imagined ourselves in cloth hats and aprons. But when we arrived we were presented with J-cloth uniforms and cardboard hats. We were very disappointed. We didn't feel like proper nurses. It was worse when we went to John Lewis and the staff in the canteen were wearing the same thing - one even had a fob watch. It was very depressing."

But despite the outfit there must have been something special about the course, reckons Jane.

"What was unusual was that of the people who came, so many of the nurses had stayed in the job and so many of those had stayed in Southampton. Usually people have left to follow other careers. It was great to meet up with so many old faces and it is remarkable that after 25 years it all still seemed so familiar."

What was less familiar was their former workplace, Southampton General Hospital, which has changed beyond all recognition, says Jane.

"When we first arrived it was an old hospital with only two of the new buildings already there, so it was being created around us. It felt very disorientating to come back. It was a very different place when we were there. Now it is like a mini-town- you've got a shopping centre and everything."

Talk at the reunion, which featured a slap-up meal and a 25th anniversary cake, centred on fond memories, not least of being in Southampton during the wild scenes that followed Saints' one and only FA Cup win in 1976.