London Assembly hosts NHS Big 7Tea party

A group of people standing ready to cut an NHS Big 7Tea cake

Late last week, London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon hosted an NHS Big 7Tea party to raise a cuppa in celebration of the NHS’s 70th birthday with London’s NHS charities.

Supported by NHS England, this is the first time the NHS Charities have come together and as a result, thousands of NHS Big 7Tea parties have been held up and down the county to celebrate 70 years of the NHS, recognise the hard work and commitment of staff past and present and raise money for NHS charities.

In recent years, NHS charities have funded major capital projects, pioneering research and medical equipment at our hospitals that could not and should not be funded by the NHS. Across the UK they help patients access the best possible care when they need it most.

They also play a key role in mobilising volunteers to support NHS staff, brightening wards and waiting areas with colourful and engaging art and building an important link between our hospitals and our communities.

Caroline Pidgeon said: “I’m delighted to have hosted this special London event at London’s Living Room, to raise a cuppa with NHS charities from across the capital for the NHS’s 70th birthday.  What’s not often celebrated is the contribution made by the NHS charities that help the NHS do so much more which I’m glad we were able to do so.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Londoners owe an enormous debt of thanks to everyone who works or volunteers for the National Health Service, or has done since it started 70 years ago. Their hard work and commitment helps make London the greatest city in the world. I’m so glad that we’ve been able to celebrate and honour London’s NHS charities by sharing a cup of tea and pausing to hear some inspiring personal stories of how the NHS has supported each of us.”

Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England and Regional Director for NHS England (London) said: “The work of our NHS charities is so important – if it were not for their support and determination, we could not offer all we do for our patients and their families.  This afternoon provides a wonderful opportunity to treat representatives of all our NHS charities as a thank you for everything they do.”

The humble cup of tea has a long and proud association with the NHS. Originally served to patients in traditional fine cups with saucers and side spoons as a means of hydration, tea was considered such an important aspect of patient satisfaction that one hospital is rumoured to have even hired an official tea taster.

Chris Burghes, CEO of Royal Free Charity said: “Raising a cuppa was an important occasion to mark the amazing work so freely given by an unsung army of NHS charity volunteers who bring their hearts and passion to the NHS.  Thank you for everything you do.”

It’s not too late to host your own NHS Big7 tea party this summer, download a free pack and get fundraising at www.nhsbig7tea.co.uk