2nd September 2022

Ashbourne poet’s thanks in verse for NHS nurses is unveiled at St Oswald’s Hospital

Ashbourne poet Neil Sessions was guest of honour at St Oswald’s Hospital, Ashbourne, for the unveiling of a poem written in tribute to local NHS nurses and their role in responding to the pandemic.

The four-verse poem, called NHS Nurses, has been wall-mounted and is displayed in the hospital reception area for everyone to enjoy. It was unveiled by Ashbourne mayor Martin Spencer on Friday 2 September. A smaller version of the poem has also been mounted on the first floor Okeover ward.

Neil, who is a member of befriending service Careline, based at the hospital, wrote the poem as part of a poetry collection written in memory of his late wife, Isabel Margaret Sessions.

Neil said: "I hope that my poems bring joy and solace to those who read them - from the nurses and medics for whom I wrote NHS Nurses - to everyone else. It’s my way of reaching out to people. I write from the heart and it has been an amazing and cathartic process.”

Jane Warder, interim chief operating officer for Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust which runs St Oswald’s Hospital, said: “Through his poetry Neil has given us these uplifting words of support for frontline carers and we are delighted to have these heartfelt verses displayed in the hospital for everyone to read.”           

“We are immensely grateful for the way the Careline team supports people who are experiencing loneliness. There is lots of research about the adverse impact of loneliness on people’s health and wellbeing so Careline really is complementing the work of the NHS in a very tangible way.

“It was very touching to hear Neil read his poem at the unveiling ceremony, and it is a reminder that the impact of Covid has not gone away.”

Neil’s poetry collection, called Through My Eyes, is available from Careline at St Oswalds Hospital, Ashbourne with the proceeds raised going direct to Careline. They are also available at Connex, St Edward St, Ashbourne.

Careline is a registered charity (No. 1068801) which offers a free telephone befriending service to people living in the Derbyshire Dales and East Staffordshire. Details on its website: https://www.carelinecalling.co.uk/