Cornwall NHS staff were among around 1,500 from across the UK who attended a special service at Westminster Abbey, to celebrate the 75th birthday of the NHS.

Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, senior government and political leaders and health leaders were also invited to the service, held at 11am on Wednesday, July 5.

Other guests included celebrities like Mel Giedroyc and other supporters of NHS Charities Together, the national charity caring for the NHS.

May Parsons, an associate chief nurse who delivered the world’s first vaccine outside of a clinical trial in December 2020, carried the George Cross into the Abbey in a procession.

Richard Webb-Stevens, a paramedic who was first on the scene of the Westminster Bridge terror attack and who holds the Queen’s Ambulance Medal for Distinguished Service, was also among those who read prayers, while the UK’s first sickle cell nurse, Dame Elizabeth Anionwu OM, was one of those who gave testimonies.

Guests from Cornwall included Dr Allison Hibbert of Launceston who has worked for the NHS for 25 years, starting as a physio support worker and phlebotomist before qualifying as a doctor in London in 2003. She has been a local GP in North and East Cornwall since 2008 and is currently the lead GP for Launceston Community Hospital, with an interest in the care of older adults and supporting education of healthcare professionals.

Dr Hibbert is also the GP Clinical Lead for dementia for NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board and chairs the Cornwall Dementia Partnership. Working with system partners across health, social care and the voluntary sector, championing for improvements in dementia diagnosis and care in Cornwall and wanting to make dementia “everyone’s business”. She recently worked with colleagues from Healthwatch Cornwall and Memory Cafes to gather views of carers and people living with dementia to help shape services. Healthwatch produced ‘Hear our Voice’ report as a result of this work.As part of the event, landmark sites across the country were lit up blue on Wednesday evening, from St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall to Carlisle Civic Centre.

People were encouraged to take photographs and share them via social media, using the hashtags #NHS75 and #LightUpBlue.

All stamped post from July 1 to 4 carried a special birthday logo and The Royal Mint issued a 50p coin to mark the occasion, with funds going to NHS Charities Together.

British artist Charlie Mackesy created a special NHS75 illustration and the winners of the NHS Parliamentary Awards were announced at a ceremony at the QEII Centre in Westminster, with all nominees, their relevant MPs and other key figures invited.