On Monday evening, The Duchess of Cornwall was in attendance at the National Health Service (NHS) Heroes Awards, held at London’s Park Lane Hilton Hotel. The event is designed to honour the heroism of NHS staff and members of the public; this year, the Awards are particularly important as 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service.
The Duchess of Cornwall was greeted by the Awards’ host, and her friend, television presenter Paul O’Grady, on the rather blustery red carpet. Camilla showed no sign of tiredness from last week’s trips to France or Greece, even though she had just arrived back from the latter country earlier that day.
During the event, The Duchess mingled and chatted with various guests, who included NHS employees and members of the London Air Ambulance Service. Prince Charles’s wife also met former Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond, Dame Shirley Bassey, former Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes and actor Michael Sheen.
Among other guests who had the chance to meet Camilla were 17-year-old Lewis Hine, who has been operated on 13 times for a brain tumour, and a 70-year-old midwife who has been delivering babies in remote and extreme conditions for 50 years.
Prior to the event on Monday, The Duke of Cambridge sent a video message to the NHS, which was shown at last night’s Awards. In the message, William congratulated the NHS and its employees on the Service’s 70th anniversary.
Prince William said: “The NHS is one of our country’s greatest treasures.” The Duke also said that the NHS staff are “the most wonderful thing about the service” and praised their “inspirational skill, care and dedication.”
Speaking directly to the staff, The Duke of Cambridge exclaimed: “We owe you all a huge thank you.”
The NHS Heroes Awards also paid tribute to several heroes of the terrorist attacks which Britain faced in 2017.
The ‘Hero Doctor’ Award was received by Martin Griffiths, a trauma surgeon who saved the life of the first person stabbed during the London Bridge attack in June last year. By chance, several years earlier, Martin had operated on the victim’s father.
The ‘Young Fundraising Hero’ Award was presented to Freya Lewis, aged 15. Freya is a survivor of the Manchester Arena bombing; her best friend Nell Jones was among the 22 killed in the attack and Freya dedicated her award to Nell during the ceremony. Freya has raised over £40,000 for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital where she herself was treated for serious injuries. As she was presented with her award by One Direction star Louis Tomlinson, Freya was visibly emotional.
Next week (22nd May) The Duke of Cambridge will attend the national memorial service for the Manchester bombing, which will be held at Manchester Cathedral.
If you would like to watch the NHS Heroes Awards, the ceremony will be shown on ITV at 8.30pm on Monday 21st May.