Key workers recognised in virtual ceremony for their outstanding contribution during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Five members of staff from St Bartholomew’s Hospital have recevied the Freedom of the City of London as a thank you for their efforts during the coronavirus outbreak.
A doctor, a nurse, a physiotherapist, a technician and the chief executive from the hospital were given their awards during a virtual ceremony broadcast live on YouTube.
The Freedom is awarded by the City of London Corporation to celebrate a significant individual achievement or to honour an outstanding contribution to London or public life.
The recipients are clinical lead physiotherapist Natalie Scott (pictured below wearing personal protective equipment), lead clinical technologist Paul Watson, infectious disease consultant Dr Jonathan Lambourne and associate director of nursing for critical care Heather Byers.
The Freedom was also presented to St Bartholomew’s Hospital chief executive Professor Charles Knight, in recognition of his leadership of the hospital.
William Russell, Lord Mayor of the City of London, said: “I’ve been hugely impressed by the expertise, professionalism and humanity shown by NHS staff and other care workers who have been nursing patients back to health or sadly, comforting them in their final hours.
“Not only do these Freedom awards for Jonathan, Heather, Paul, Natalie and Charles enable us to pay tribute to their remarkable work, they acknowledge the work of St Bartholomew’s and by extension, provide us with an opportunity to thank all NHS key workers.”
Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair at the City of London Corporation, said: “As custodians of the Square Mile, we share the nation’s gratitude for those who work so tirelessly, and with such dedication, for the NHS, never more so than in recent months, as they have dealt with the extraordinary challenges presented by COVID-19.
“It is my pleasure to join the Lord Mayor in supporting these nominations, and to send the City’s sincere thanks to all of their colleagues at our local hospital.”
Professor Knight said: "We are so very grateful to the Lord Mayor and the City of London for honouring the contribution of St Bartholomew's Hospital to the treatment of patients during the pandemic in this very special way.
“The support of the City of London was crucial to us during the enormously challenging situation that we have faced as hospital over the past few months.
“These awards celebrate and refresh the centuries-long partnership between the City and its Hospital."
Upon receving the award, Heather Byers said: “The pandemic was a challenge that required the entire hospital to pull together.
“We're very grateful to staff who previously worked in critical care for returning, and to the nurses, students and other allied health professionals who were redeployed from the wards.
“We have received phenomenal support from the City and our local communities throughout. The many donations and the contribution of volunteers really boosted moral during some very difficult times.”
“I would like to say how proud we are of what we have achieved during an unprecedented time in the NHS.”
The Freedom of the City of London is believed to have begun in 1237 and was used to enable recipients to carry out their trade.
Today, people are nominated for, or apply for, the Freedom, because it offers them a link with the historic City of London and one of its ancient traditions.
The granting of the awards follows an approach to St Bartholomew’s Hospital by the City of London Corporation’s Freedom Applications Committee to demonstrate the Corporation’s support for the Square Mile’s local hospital and its gratitude to all its staff.
Watch the ceremony again via the City Corporation’s YouTube channel