Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear NHS, happy birthday to you!
The big day is almost here – and you’re invited to take part in the fun.
Seven decades ago, following the Second World War and at a time when King George VI was on the throne and Clement Attlee was Prime Minister, the national health service was launched.
Still the pride of the world today, it was set up with a simple vision: That services should be comprehensive, universal, and free at the point of delivery.
In recent months, The Gazette has told the stories of people who, quite simply, said they would not be here today without the expertise and unrivalled care provided by the army of medics working on our hospital wards, in A&E, and in our communities.
To celebrate the momentous occasion, hard-working staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital have organised a series of events, which everyone is welcome to attend.
Chief executive Wendy Swift said: “The NHS’s 70th birthday will rightly be the cause of much celebration across the country.
“Within the Fylde coast we want to pay tribute to the many thousands of dedicated staff who over the last 70 years have provided health care for our residents and visitors.
“Amid the backdrop of financial challenge and increasing demand, it is all too easy to forget how far we have come since the NHS was born in 1948.
“Innovations in treatment which were once thought impossible are now everyday occurrences and health conditions which were once fatal are not only survivable, but treatable.
“The NHS is a brand that is instantly recognised and respected and has core values that remain as relevant today as they were in 1948.
“The NHS is truly remarkable and it is right that our staff and public should make time to come together to acknowledge it.
“Many of us and our families across the Fylde coast owe a huge debt of gratitude to our National Health Service.”
On Monday, an exhibit of historic photos and equipment – some taken from our own archives – will open in the mezzanine from 10am until 3pm, while a history tour will start at 2pm.
The exhibition will run at the same times for the rest of the week, while there will also be history tours at 10am on Tuesday, 2pm on Wednesday, 10am on Thursday, the day of the NHS’s birthday, and 2pm on Friday.
Singer Joe Longthorne will open a Unison book bench – aimed at encouraging reading – outside the Education Centre at 1.30pm on Tuesday, before a new history wall is unveiled in the hospital’s main corridor at 2pm.
The resort entertainer, who found blueprints for the hospital in his own attic, said: “Having a deep passion for learning and knowledge, I love the idea of a reading bench which will encourage all kind of people to pick up a book.
“I am also looking forward to the reveal of the new wall. My partner Jamie and I discovered some items that were of significant historical importance in our attic, and I am delighted to be revealing them as part of the new memory wall.”
A special video, titled #NHS70, will premiere in the mezzanine at 11.45am-11.55am on Thursday, with special guests attending. It will be followed by a birthday cake cutting.
Then, Blackpool town crier Barry McQueen will give a welcomed address at the restaurant’s staircase entrance, ahead of a street party with 1948-themed menu and entertainment by ‘40s singer Lilli De Carlo.
On Friday, a staff reunion will be held in the Education Centre from 10am until 4pm, which will include a special history tour, including former and current accomodation and a group photo.
‘We’re so lucky to have the NHS’ says Dancing Dan
Blackpool’s Dancing on Ice star, Dan Whiston, praised the NHS ahead of its 70th birthday.
With most of his family having been born at Blackpool Victoria Hospital and his sister a senior nurse, Dan has strong connection to the hospital and the NHS.
He said: “I think we are really lucky to have the NHS.
“You go to different countries and you hear about their healthcare systems and it’s quite scary, so we are very lucky to have the NHS.
“It’s so lovely to know that if something goes wrong or there is any kind of illness, we know we have got a great back up with a great team.
I’m here to just say thank you and wish the NHS a very happy birthday.”