'We owe them' - Lowestoft Freemasons thank NHS staff at special event
- Credit: Mick Howes
Lowestoft Freemasons joined with masonic lodges throughout the country to thank NHS staff on its special birthday.
As Aneurin Bevan led the establishment of the National Health Service 73 years ago, on July 5, 1948, in Lowestoft this week representatives of the freemason lodges came together to mark the NHS anniversary with a ‘thank-you’ flag-raising ceremony and cheque presentation.
Guests of honour were Jackie Copping, deputy director of nursing at James Paget Hospital, and director Paul Morris.
After a special flag was raised - which included a written tribute to the NHS - Provincial Junior Grand Warden Mike Dobson expressed his thanks to all the doctors, nurses and support staff in the NHS, for looking after us throughout Covid.
He said: “They helped to get us through this pandemic and we owe them.
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"This is part of celebrations throughout the UK and as freemasons we see this as an opportunity to say thank you as the NHS certainly deserve it.
"The work they do has been outstanding.”
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On behalf of all the lodges who use the Masonic Hall at Lowestoft, Mike Dobson presented a cheque for £1,000 to Jackie Copping – to recognise everyone who has cared or looked after patients.
Bob Lee, assistant provincial Grand Master in the Province of Suffolk representing all the other Suffolk freemasons, added: “The pandemic has tried and tested the resolve of all frontline NHS and care workers.
"Their response has been magnificent and we owe them all a great debt of gratitude."
Jackie Copping thanked the masons for the generous donation to mark NHS Thank You Day.
She said: “The past 16 months has been a tangible test of the resilience of the NHS.
"The pandemic has stretched and tested the NHS to its limits but staff have risen to the challenge and done the NHS, the nation and themselves proud.
"Staff have been juggling life at home with challenges at work and this can impact on their health and wellbeing.
"So we give the pastoral side of caring for all our staff high priority to ensure we deal with how they are really feeling.
"We will use the donation to enhance the environment for the staff to unwind and create a quiet and comfortable area for them to have time for reflection.”
To conclude proceedings bugler Nigel Flack, an ex-Royal Artillery Band member, played ‘Last Post’.