West Wolds Labour Party recently organised a 70th birthday party for the National Health Service at Pocklington Arts Centre.
Founded in July 1948 to provide free health care for all at the point of delivery, the NHS revolutionised health care in Britain and is Labour’s most popular and enduring achievement.
Health minister Aneurin Bevan said at the time: ‘Illness in neither an indulgence for which people should have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune, the cost of which should be shared by the community.’ A hospital bed decked with balloons and posters and music from 1948 provided the focus outside the arts centre.
Labour members dressed as nurses and doctors handed out balloons and leaflets and invited passers-by to sign a giant 70th birthday card.
Inside, refreshments were served, including slices of a 70th birthday cake, commissioned for the occasion.
Members of the public who signed the card revealed the depth of feeling for the NHS:
‘Thanks for ensuring I wasn’t another infant mortality stat. Happy birthday xx.’
‘Our most egalitarian and worthwhile achievement! Thank you.’
‘You saved my son and me. Happy Birthday, NHS! Can’t live without you!’
Constituency party secretary Catherine Minnis said: “A fantastic response from members of our community! What a momentous event it is to celebrate 70 years of our national treasure, most especially in view of the real and present danger to it.”