Services to say thank you to the everyday heroes of our National Health Service on its 70th birthday this Thursday will be held across the country – including national celebrations at Westminster Abbey and York Minster.
Patients, staff – past and present – members of the Royal family and the Government will attend the services – including the Countess of Wessex at Westminster Abbey. Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt will speak at both services as will young victims of the Manchester terror attack. Freya Lewis at Westminster and Eve Senior, in York.
Singer Linda Nolan is the host at the special choral concert in York, which will see 1,000 specially invited NHS staff.
Performers include the NHS Greenwich and Lewisham choir with their charity single, With a Little Help From My Friends; Britain’s Got Talent finalists, the B-Positive Choir; the HEY Choir, from Hull and East Yorkshire hospitals; and the Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Brass Band – recently crowned champions at the brass band French Open.
York Minster and Canterbury Cathedral will be among dozens of landmark buildings across the country, which will light up in blue for the birthday.
Other cathedral services include Winchester which will see former chief nurse and the Bishop of London, the Right Reverend Dame Sarah Mullally preach.
Full details of the Winchester service can be found here.
Lichfield Cathedral is serving free tea and buns in its café for all NHS staff (past and present) throughout the day and an open invitation to join them in a special celebratory service at 5.30pm with guest speaker Sir Al Aynsley Green.
Worcester Cathedral will celebrate with a free special concert on Saturday lunchtime with the Royal Cornwall Hospital Choir.
And Coventry too is hosting an evensong for the NHS on Thursday
The Very Revd Catherine Ogle, Dean of Winchester, said:
‘The NHS was founded on the great vision of compassionate healthcare for all, regardless of income, age or background and there can be few whose lives have not been touched by this vital service in some way.”
The Dean of Lichfield, and Chairman of the Association of English Cathedrals, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber said:
“The popularity of the NHS from day one has never been in doubt.
“It is a vital part of the fabric of our nation and a practical means of our care and concern for one another.
“Although the NHS faces terrible financial challenges just now, it is good to see national government showing commitment to long term financial underpinning of the service.
“It is one of the few things people are willing to pay more taxes for, and we are delighted to celebrate all the NHS has been and will be, and the people who make it so.”