Talented staff and loved ones help RJAH’s virtual VE Day celebrations

Release Date: 07/05/2020

Talented staff and loved ones help RJAH’s virtual VE Day celebrations

VE Day is being celebrated slightly differently at Shropshire’s specialist orthopaedic hospital – through poetry and music, created by staff and their loved ones.

The ongoing lockdown restrictions have meant that people across the country have had to find creative ways of marking the 75th anniversary since the end of the Second World War in Europe – and staff at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) are no exception.

The creative talents of staff and those connected to the hospital have been tapped into, with two poems written by staff members on the hospital’s Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries (MCSI), Belinda Morris, Healthcare Assistant, and Helen Silver, Staff Nurse, as a mark of remembrance and respect.

In a bid to get staff from across the hospital involved in the virtual celebrations, departments were tasked to film themselves reading a verse of Belinda’s poem, entitled ‘We thank you, we salute you’.

These video clips have then been edited together by the Trust’s Communications team to create a video for social media. To add another personal touch, Michael Jenkins – the partner of Naomi Penrose, a member of the hospital’s Communications team – has arranged and recorded his own version of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’ on the piano, to accompany staff members reading the poem.

Belinda, who enjoys writing poetry outside of work, said her poem is a “tribute and an expression of gratitude” to the soldiers, who fought on the frontline.

She said: “I’ve always used poetry as a creative outlet and I’ve written poems for my colleagues and patients on MCSI in the past, so it was a real pleasure to be asked to write something to help the hospital celebrate VE Day, during these challenging times we’re currently in.

“I wanted to write something that got across the feeling of respect and gratitude to those soldiers, who fought for us.”

A teacher and performer, Michael offered to arrange and record his version of the song on the piano.

He said: “With Naomi and I both working from home at the moment, I noticed she was trying to find an appropriate song to accompany the poems but wasn’t convinced by anything that was out there. When discussing what she was looking for, ‘We’ll Meet Again’ was of course the first song we both associated with not only VE Day but also the current situation we’re all in at the moment.

“However, Naomi didn’t want to face issues with copyright, so I suggested I arrange and record my own version, so that’s what I did – and I feel delighted to have contributed in my own small way to helping the hospital celebrate VE Day.”

Michael’s track is also used to accompany Helen’s poem, ‘Trenches and War’, which has been edited into a video, with the words of the poem and images of historic VE Day celebrations, as well as RJAH staff, who have been part of the hospital’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Helen’s poem pays tribute to the strength of both the soldiers and those currently working in the NHS, helping the country fight the pandemic.


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