It was an afternoon of celebration, balloons and badges as staff were honoured at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Long Service Awards.
A total of 208 colleagues who have served a staggering 4,970 years in the NHS, but mostly at Walsall, were recognised at the glitzy event, held at the Village Hotel today.
Staff gathered for presentations, selfies, and sweet treats organised as a special thank you to honour their work and show recognition for the numerous contributions made across hospital and community settings.
Alan Duffell, Group Chief People Officer, led the tributes for those celebrating 20, 30, 40 or 50 years’ service.
They were recognised in four categories – 152 colleagues who have served 20 years received bronze badges, 34 who have worked for 30 years, silver, and there were gold badges for the 19 staff who have worked for 40 years and three who have clocked up a half century.
Guests were also treated to a trip down memory lane with slides recounting what happened 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago.
Professor David Loughton CBE, Group Chief Executive, said: “It’s a real privilege to be here as part of the celebration of service that you’ve given to the NHS. It’s a real pleasure to hear your stories.
“If it wasn’t for the people, the NHS wouldn’t be what it is. Thank you for all you do and please remember the joy you bring to people while changing their lives for the better, each and every day.”
Staff stories and videos were shared prior to a special message from Sir David Nicholson KCB CBE, Trust Chair.
Summing up the importance of loyalty and service, Sir David, said: “It’s truly phenomenal what you’ve done and you should be proud of the contribution you’ve made to the population of Walsall. Thank you.”
Debbie McCausland, Lead Paediatric Diabetes Specialist Nurse, paid tribute to Phillip Jevon, Resuscitation Training Officer, on his 40 years. She said: “Phil has been a part of the learning centre for many years and before that within acute medicine. He has done a fantastic job with CPR training over the years, so a big well done and congratulations.”
Another 40-years servant, Gillian Harley, Community Midwife, was recognised by fellow Midwife Sylvia Millen. She said: “Gill is very kind and considerate and always thinking of others above herself.”
Arlene Forrest, Staff Nurse for Emergency Theatre/Delivery Suite Theatre, and Community Midwives/Vaccinators Maureen Miles and Linda Ball, were the biggest stars of the day having dedicated 50 years to the NHS, with no sign of stopping just yet!
Arlene is a mentor to junior members of the team, and is described as a “caring, compassionate person who moves with times and is passionate about high standards and excellence within patient care delivery.”
She is known for being “reliable and hardworking” and is hailed as “a huge asset to the Trust.”
Winding back 50 years, Linda joined Walsall Healthcare as a Nurse Cadet before doing her Nurse training in the 1970s. She later went on to qualify as a Midwife. She worked as a sister on Delivery Suite for several years before moving to the community. Through hard work and dedication, she progressed to become a Team Leader and often acted up as Matron.
She retired from Midwifery in October 2020, but since then has worked as part of the vaccination programme – supporting with the Trust’s response to COVID-19. Her colleagues described her as “an amazing Nurse, Midwife, and mentor to all that have worked with her and alongside her.”
Maureen has also committed her working life to Midwifery – having joined the NHS in 1971 and going on to care for countless women, babies and families within Walsall.
Her wider team praised her contributions to both improving service and enhancing patients’ experience.
“She is a font of knowledge and expertise”, they said. “The epitome of ‘with woman’ and a great teacher of the art of Midwifery”.
The trio thanked their colleagues for their kind and thoughtful words on an “emotional” day..
“It’s wonderful to be recognised,” said Maureen. “We’ve seen many changes and challenges over the years, but we’ve thoroughly loved every minute of it.”