Landmarks Light Up Blue In The East To Mark NHS 73rd Birthday And Thank Staff For Contribution During Pandemic

Image of the front of Ipswich Hospital light up with blue lights.

Ipswich Hospital’s Garrett Anderson Centre lit up blue for NHS70 in 2018.

Norwich Castle, Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals, and Porters Civic House Southend are some of the sites in the east of England set to light up blue across this weekend, to mark the anniversary of the founding of the NHS and the huge contribution of health service staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

The move comes as events are held across the country today to remember NHS workers who have lost their lives to the virus, ahead of the NHS’s 73rd birthday on Monday.

NHS Chief People Officer Prerana Issar will attend a service at the London Blossom Garden this afternoon [Saturday, 3rd July], in memory of the NHS workers who died while caring for patients during the pandemic, and in dedication to the way the health service – backed by key workers and the public throughout – has worked together to care for 400,000 Covid patients in England’s hospitals.  

The garden, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, was planted as a living memorial and is a place to reflect, remember those who lost their lives, and pay tribute to key workers.

Later in the evening more than 70 landmarks around the country will light up blue, including sites such as the King’s Lynn Corn Exchange large scale vaccination centre, that have been part of the world-leading vaccine rollout that has seen more than 65 million life-saving jabs delivered so far.

Landmarks were encouraged to light up in solidarity with the NHS for last year’s 72nd birthday, and this year vaccination sites are also being encouraged to take part to acknowledge the vital role they have played for the NHS and the country.

Catherine Morgan OBE, Regional Chief Nurse for the East of England NHS England and NHS Improvement, said:

“While there is much to celebrate with the continued successful roll out of the covid vaccine in our region, I will be taking some time this weekend to reflect and remember those who we have tragically lost during the pandemic, be it family, friends or colleagues.

“As we approach 73 years of the NHS, I think the most challenging time in its history has also been the time we have appreciated the NHS the most. I am incredibly proud to be part of such a diverse and skilled workforce that continues to make such an impact on all our lives when we need it most, and thank all my NHS colleagues in the east for their historic contribution as we move forward.”

NHS chief people officer Prerana Issar said:

“Each of the colleagues who sadly died while caring for and protecting patients represents an irreplaceable gap in a family and a workplace. While this is a private event for families and some NHS colleagues, I encourage everyone to take a moment on Saturday to reflect and remember.

“It is no exaggeration to say that health service staff have helped to keep the country going during the pandemic, and while NHS staff have rightly been celebrated for their contribution, we know that the role played by other key workers – people keeping supermarkets open, refuse collectors, child carers and other public services – as well as the resilience of the general public, has helped ensure we can start to move forward.

“The best way for everyone to say thank you to NHS staff and other key workers is to join the tens of millions of others who have so far had their first and second dose of the Covid-19 vaccination, and book your jabs today.” 

NHS England chief nursing officer Ruth May said:

“It has been an extremely challenging year for the country and for NHS staff in particular and it is important we reflect on our achievements with pride, and recognise the dedication and commitment of our amazing people who have made huge sacrifices, especially those who sadly lost their lives.

“It has also been a year of hope with the success of our world-leading vaccination programme now in its final push, and our 73rd birthday is a chance to celebrate that and say a huge thank you to our staff, our army of volunteers, and our local communities for working so hard to deliver the extraordinary rollout.

“This is a moment not only for the country to record gratitude for the NHS, but I think for all of us in the NHS to say thank you to everybody who has helped us, help you.”