NHS’ 75th anniversary to be marked with special service at cathedral

THE 75th anniversary of the NHS – and the 80th anniversary of the opening of a US Army hospital in Odstock – will be marked with a special service at Salisbury Cathedral next month.

Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust has joined forces with the cathedral for the event, which starts at 5.30pm on Monday, June 26.

The cathedral said the service offers a ‘wonderful opportunity for the community to come together and join health and care staff to celebrate this significant milestone of our National Health Service’.

The NHS was founded on July 5, 1948.

This ecumenical service is open to all communities in South Wiltshire, North and East Dorset and South West Hampshire and warm welcome will be given to all faiths and those with none.

It will celebrate a year of anniversaries as it is 80 years since the hospital on Odstock Road opened as a US military hospital supporting D-Day and the liberation of Europe, the closing of the city centre infirmary 30 years ago, as well as the 70th anniversary of Radio Odstock, the hospital’s radio station.

The service will be led by the Dean and Cathedral clergy, with members of the Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust Chaplaincy, and will include choir music and readings of specially commissioned poetry and prose, which will evoke the history of the NHS in the community, and the experiences of patients over the years.

Stacey Hunter, CEO of Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to be once again joining with Salisbury Cathedral to mark this important anniversary, 75 years of the NHS, the first universal health system to be available to all, free at the point of delivery.

“Today the NHS treats over a million people a day in England. It touches all of our lives.

“We welcome everyone in the community to come to the cathedral to celebrate with us at this ecumenical service.”

The Very Revd Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury, added: “We are delighted to be marking this important anniversary with our friends and colleagues from the NHS, celebrating their achievements over the last 75 years, and thanking them for their daily contribution to Salisbury and its community.

“We saw at first hand the dedication of their staff and volunteers during Covid, when they ran their vaccination sessions in this building, but their work is ever present in our daily lives, caring for friends, colleagues and loved ones – available to all, given to all.”

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