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How is the NHS’s 75th anniversary celebrated across London?


How is the NHS’s 75th anniversary celebrated across London?


n 5 July, 2023, the NHS will mark 75 years of service. Since 1948, the NHS has evolved to meet the health needs of multiple generations – including finding the world’s first effective treatment for Covid-19 and rolling out the vaccine programme.

The national health service has delivered huge medical advances, including the world’s first liver, heart and lung transplant in 1987.

More recently, it engineered the world’s first rapid whole genome sequencing service for seriously ill babies and children.

When it was founded, the NHS was the first universal health system to be available to all, free at the point of delivery

But how is its 75th anniversary being celebrated? Here’s everything you need to know.

What events are taking place in London to celebrate 75 years of the NHS?

Westminster Abbey service

A special service at Westminster Abbey has been announced to celebrate the NHS 75th birthday this year.

Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh will be accompanied by NHS staff, senior government and political leaders, health leaders and celebrities at the event.

The service will be held at 11am on Wednesday, 5 July, and there will be an address by NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard.

Guests in the Abbey will include around 1,500 NHS staff, as well as celebrities such as Mel Giedroyc and other supporters of NHS Charities Together – which is the national charity caring for the NHS.

May Parsons, an associate chief nurse who delivered the world’s first vaccine outside of a clinical trial in December 2020, will carry the George Cross into the Abbey in a procession.

She will be joined by 17-year-old Kyle Dean-Curtis, St John Ambulance cadet of the year, who wants to work in the NHS, as well as 91-year-old Enid Richmond.

He was one of the first people to work in the NHS as a junior clerical worker, and his sister still volunteers for the health service.

Photography competition

Today the NHS has announced the winners of a special commemorative photography competition.

It’s run by NHS England alongside Fujifilm, and hundreds of NHS staff and volunteers took part.

The competition was split into five categories of people, innovations, environment, care and partners, and the winning photos will be on show at the Westminster Abbey service.

Additionally, all stamped post from 1 July to 4 July will carry a special birthday logo and The Royal Mint has issued a 50p coin to mark the occasion, with funds going to NHS Charities Together.

British artist Charlie Mackesy has also created a special NHS75 illustration, to be released on Wednesday 5 July.

Light Up Blue

Buildings, historic monuments and other high-profile sites nationwide will be lit up in blue on the evening of 5 July.

People are encouraged to take photos and share them via social media using the hashtags: #NHS75 and #LightUpBlue.

The following buildings in London are set to #LightUpBlue:

  • Alexandra Palace
  • Barnet General Hospital
  • Battersea Power Station
  • British Medical Association House
  • BT Tower
  • Charlton Athletic Football Club
  • City Hall
  • Department of Health and Social Care, Victoria Street
  • ExCeL London
  • HMS Belfast
  • House of Commons
  • London Eye
  • North Middlesex University Hospital
  • One Canada Square
  • Piccadilly Lights
  • Royal College of Nursing headquarters
  • Somerset House
  • The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
  • The National Theatre
  • The OXO Tower
  • The Shard
  • Tower Hamlets Town Hall
  • Trafalgar Square and fountains
  • University Hospital Lewisham
  • Waterloo Station Clock
  • Wembley Stadium

Parkrun for the NHS

People across the UK are invited to ‘parkrun for the NHS’ at parkrun events on Saturday 8 July and junior parkrun events on Sunday 9 July – with the event being backed by tennis champion Sir Andy Murray.

You can walk, jog or run 5K at your local parkrun to celebrate this major milestone, and commemorate all the staff and volunteers who have contributed to the running of the NHS.

Participants are being encouraged to dress in the NHS’s trademark blue colour, or wear fancy dress for fun.

NHS Big Tea

If you’re a fan of tea and cake, citizens are being encouraged to host their own NHS Big Tea party.

Thousands are expected to take place nationwide on Wednesday, 5 July, or any day of the week.

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