The NHS will be 70 years old in a couple of weeks, and on Sunday 8 July we’re staging a couple of celebratory events to mark this important milestone for one of Britain’s best loved organisations.
On the day, the former mining village of Edlington will be the setting for a re-enactment of a famous parade that took place seven decades earlier on 5 July, 1948, when the band from Yorkshire Main Colliery marched up to the then doctor’s house – it doubled up as his surgery – and played a few tunes.
Dr James O’Donnell greeted them with drinks and hung a Union Jack from a window – the NHS had arrived.
The colliery is gone and the doctor’s surgery now a private house, so we’ve had to adapt a little, whilst still maintaining a sense of how important the day was, not just for Edlington, for the entire country.
At 9.30 am, the City of Sheffield Pipe Band will march from Edlington Hilltop Centre to Martinwells Centre, a few hundred yards away, where they will be greeted by one of the village’s current GPs, Dr Nayar. Everyone is welcome to walk behind the band.
Martinwells is the modern face of the NHS in 21st century Edlington, a £7 million building that opened just a few years ago to house two GP practices and a much more, including library, pharmacy and community workers.
The band will strike up a few tunes and pupils from Sir Thomas Wharton Academy will give a short performance about this historic occasion. Weldricks will also provide a display of antique pharmacy equipment.
Following this, the celebrations move to Tickhill Road Hospital/Woodfield Park for a very special 70th birthday celebration, from 11am to 4pm. It will feature Flourish Enterprise’s Summer Fayre, plus marquees housing a range of contributions from local NHS trusts and other organisations. Entry is FREE.
There will be face painting, a bouncy castle, dog show, treasure trail, yoga and refreshments and lots more. Children are welcome to come in fancy dress to celebrate the NHS 70 birthday theme and play a giant game of ‘Operation’ with Healthwatch Doncaster.
Club Doncaster Foundation will run a Health & Social Care 5-a-side football competition. If you would like to enter a team please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Doncaster Royal Infirmary is also celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, marking the occasion by launching a charity book that includes history and photographs of the hospital spanning three centuries. You can purchase copies on the day.
I hope you will join us at both events.