Staff from across Frimley Health’s hospitals and satellite sites celebrated the 70th anniversary of the NHS in style last weekend.
They gathered at Easthampstead Park near Bracknell on Sunday 8 July for a fun-filled extravaganza with their family and friends, laid on for them by the trust.
Melanie Walker, the trust’s lead for NHS 70 activities and event organiser, said: “We wanted to do something that would bring the whole organisation together in a location central to all our main sites – and Easthampstead Park had the WOW factor and plenty of space to accommodate us.”
Among the entertainments on offer were fairground rides, numerous stalls and inflatables, face painting, a petting zoo, live music, Frimley Health Harmonies choir, sumo wrestling and lots to eat and drink.
On such a hot day, ice creams were flying out of the freezer!
Earlier in the day, some had braved the heat to compete in the annual Run Wexham event at Black Park country park to raise lots of money for Wexham Park’s Children’s Critical Care Appeal.
To mark the birthday itself on Thursday 5 July, BBC Radio Berkshire broadcast live from Wexham Park Hospital.
Lots of staff at the hospital featured on the breakfast show when Andrew Peach presented from outside A&E. They explained why the NHS was so important to them and why they loved working for Frimley Health.
Radio presenter Sarah Walker then took over broadcasting live from outside the new maternity building from 10am. Her show featured interviews with midwives and new mums and dads who were celebrating the births of their babies that day, as well as parents of our tiniest babies in the neonatal unit.
In the weeks leading up to the NHS70 anniversary, students from two local colleges had been busy working on special artwork to commemorate the milestone. Groups from Farnborough College of Technology and Wexham School in Slough created canvases depicting landmark moments in the history of the NHS and these are now adorning corridors at Wexham Park and Frimley Park hospitals.
Maxine McVey, deputy director of nursing at Wexham, told the pupils: “I think your paintings are wonderful and have captured those moments over the past 70 years that make the NHS what it is. They are absolutely brilliant and will bring a smile to the faces of staff and patients alike.”
Volunteers are an important part of the Frimley Health team and supporters from Telefonica O2 in Slough were keen to get involved in marking the 70th anniversary. They took on a tired-looking courtyard garden opposite the chapel at Wexham Park and turned it into a small haven for staff and visitors to enjoy.
Voluntary services manager Mike Stone said: “There is a lot of evidence that gardens and green spaces are good for mental and physical health so this seemed a fitting way to get some of our fantastic volunteers from the local community involved to mark a major milestone in NHS history.”
And Frimley Health staff had another reason to celebrate NHS70. As well as receiving special pin badges, everyone has been given an extra day’s leave in 2018/19 to mark their own birthday!