The first person ever to be born in the NHS was the guest of honour as the Cavell Nurses' Trust celebrated the work of the UK’s nurses and the 70thanniversary of the health service.
Aneira Thomas, a retired nurse from Birmingham, attended the first Care and Cake Garden Party held by the Cavell Nurses’ Trust, a charity which supports UK nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants when they’re suffering personal or financial hardship.
‘I can’t thank Cavell Nurses’ Trust enough for supporting me and my family. It’s incredible that such a charity exists to help nursing professionals when they are struggling,’ Ms Thomas said.
‘I am proud to be celebrating my 70that the same time as the NHS, an amazing institution run by amazing people.’
Ms Thomas was born just after midnight on Monday July 5 1948, just one minute after the NHS came into being.
She has maintained her link with the NHS throughout her life, working for 28 years as a mental health nurse, and says the service has had an impact on not just her, but her whole family.
‘The NHS was set up to maintain life. I never knew any of my grandparents because they died between the ages of 30 and 50. But my mother lived until she was 95, which she put down to the NHS,’ she said.
‘I am the youngest of seven children but was the first to be born in hospital, and it didn’t cost my parents a penny.
The garden party held by the Trust took place at Highbury Hall, a Grade II listed building which was once used as a hospital in WW1 as well as a home for disabled soldiers. A fitting venue as the Trust was started in memory of British nurse Edith Cavell, who was executed in 1915 for smuggling allied soldiers out of Belgium.
‘We were delighted to host the inaugural Care & Cake Garden Party in Birmingham and especially welcoming Aneira Thomas,’ said John Orchard, chief executive of the Cavell Nurses’ Trust.
‘We were proud to have been able to support Aneira last year when she contacted us for help. It’s wonderful that she turns 70 at the same time as the NHS and that she has dedicated so much of her life to nursing.’