BY TOBY PORTER
Abseilers have raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity work at a hospital by dropping 14 storeys from its roof.
Frank Clark, from Southwark, who turns 90 this year, was one of 400 people to climb down the side of St Thomas’ Hospital last week for its charity arm.
He surpassed his £400 target with ease – and he was particularly pleased because he has been treated there one way or another for more than 70 years.
Another was mum Casey Muller, who almost trebled her target, collecting more than £1,300 for the next-door Evelina Children’s Hospital by abseiling the 160ft down the side of the hospital.
Sue Smith, who celebrated 60 years as a nurse, much of that at the hospital, raised almost £1,800 for Evelina.
Their efforts came amid International Nurses’ Day celebrations at Guy’s and St Thomas’, which were kicked off with a visit from NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens, whose own 15-year-old son was born at the hospital.
He revisited the trust’s maternity ward at St Thomas’ to film thank-you messages for NHS staff ahead of International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses’ Day, held separately on May 5 and 12.
He spoke to nurses and midwives about working at Guy’s and St Thomas’.
He said: “I was delighted to return to St Thomas’ Hospital in the lead up to International Day of the Midwife and International Nurses’ Day, and to talk to frontline staff about the work the trust is doing to support all patients.
“The enthusiasm of the nurses and midwifes I chatted with, and their dedication to their patients, remind all of us why we have so much to be thankful for.
International Nurses’ Day is a chance to say thank you and to reconnect to giving our nurses the backing they need for the future.”
Dame Eileen Sills, chief nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “We were delighted to welcome Simon Stevens to St Thomas’ Hospital to celebrate our brilliant nurses and midwives.
“We are extremely proud of our staff and it’s great to see them getting recognition from the chief executive of the NHS in England.”
Other events included guided tours of the artworks at St Thomas’ Hospital and a performance about the life of pioneering nurse Florence Nightingale in the St Thomas’ Hospital Garden.
The trust also held a special awards ceremony to celebrate the recipients of the Nightingale Nurse Award, a professional award for its most outstanding nurses and midwives which is unique to the trust and is named in honour of Nightingale, who set up her first nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1859.
The award ceremony featured performances from the B Positive NHS Blood Donation choir, who were contestants on the last series of Britain’s Got Talent.