NHS 75

05th July 2023

Prayers will be offered up in our cathedrals today and those that can light up blue will turn blue, joining landmarks across the country to help mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS.

Celebrating 75 years of the NHS.

Many of our cathedrals are holding services to honour their local NHS including special choral Evensongs this week to say thank you to the NHS.

Westminster Abbey will hold a national celebration for NHS staff, volunteers and partners at 11 am today which will be attended by their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh and joined by NHS staff, senior government and political leaders, health leaders and celebrities. Guests in the Abbey will include around 1,500 NHS staff and other supporters of NHS Charities Together, the national charity caring for the NHS.

Prayers will be read by Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay, Chief Nurse Dame Ruth May, NHS National Medical Director Professor Sir Stephen Powis, Chief Allied Health Professions Officer Professor Suzanne Rastrick OBE, and Richard Webb-Stevens, a paramedic who was first on the scene of the Westminster Bridge terror attack and who holds the Queen’s Ambulance Medal for Distinguished Service.

Dame Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said:

“The NHS has truly been built upon the millions of hardworking NHS staff and volunteers who have shaped its course over the last three quarters of a century, constantly innovating and adapting to the new challenges they have faced – most recently the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected all our lives – to care for generation after generation, and it will be a fantastic honour to celebrate our health service’s 75th birthday and thank each of those incredible staff and volunteers at Westminster Abbey.”

Carlisle Cathedral will host a special service this evening with the North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC) to pay tribute and thanks to staff past and present.

Two members of staff and a volunteer from NCIC will attend the service in Westminster Abbey including Liz who has worked for the Trust for almost 50 years.

Liz said:

“I feel very honoured to have been nominated to attend the service in Westminster. I never thought for one moment when I started all those years ago that I would be part of the 75th celebrations. It’s even more poignant that it is the year that I will be retiring.”

Gloucester Cathedral will be lighting up blue and is hosting a special community art exhibition in its cloister in partnership with its local NHS services and Gloucester Creative Health Consortium.

NHS 75

A new sculpture, The Hand that Cared’, by sculptor Deborah Harrison will also be on display. The piece was made in memory of Fannie Storr, who worked for many years as a Senior Nurse in Gloucestershire before becoming the first Director of Nursing Education in Gloucestershire 1981. She devoted her life to caring for others and died during the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘The Hand that Cared’, a poignant new sculpture, will also be on display in the Cloister throughout this period. Click here to find out more.

More about the special Evensong at Gloucester can be found here.

There will be a special service in Salisbury Cathedral later today which will feature a reading from NHS workers and a specially composed poem.

The Dean of Salisbury Cathedral, the Very Revd Nick Papadopulos said:

“Could there be a more powerful statement that every one of us, whoever we are, is worthy of being properly looked after, from the cradle to the grave?”

Salisbury Cathedral too will turn blue tonight to mark the 75th anniversary.

 These are just some of the ways our cathedrals are honouring the NHS.