Hundreds celebrate NHS70 at parkruns across Cumbria

An idea to celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS which started in Carlisle has been hailed a national success.

Carlisle parkrun led a national celebration of the 70th birthday of the NHS on Saturday 9th June. 

More than 85,000 people were expected to take part across the UK, but on the day there were more than 146,000 people taking part in special events. The idea was supported and promoted by Dame Kelly Holmes. More than 360 parkruns took part – including Penrith, Workington and Millom – and saw people running in fancy dress, sharing their NHS stories and messages of thanks.

The idea came from Nicola Jackson and Kathryn Holliday who work for NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group. They worked with NHS England and parkrun UK to develop the event. Nicola, a children’s commissioner, said: “It really was the most amazing experience. We had 381 runners at Carlisle parkrun, a record for our event. We celebrated the NHS and staying active, as well as sharing messages of thanks.

“It was really very emotional reading some of the messages that were posted during our celebration. It was unbelievable seeing the impact across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland across social media as people shared their experiences. It will live me for a long time.”


Messages posted at Carlisle parkrun included:
“Thank you for saving my dad’s life”
“Thank you to Dr Davies, Wigton Hospital, the OTs and physios, the oncology team and Eden Valley Hospice for looking after Lawrence x”
“Thank you to the breast care doctors, nurses and healthcare assistants. You truly are a credit to your profession. Long live the NHS xx”
“The NHS has saved my life numerous times, but Carlisle parkrun has made it worth living.”

.Parkruns also took place in Millom, Penrith, Barrow and Workington. Shaun Cavanagh, Specialist Community LD Nurse at CPFT and the Workington parkrun director attended the NHS 70 parkrun in Workington on Saturday; the event was a huge success and hundreds of NHS park runners old and new joined in the celebrations.

Shaun said:

“The #NHS70 celebration was wonderful in itself, but made all the more so by the joining together of dedicated NHS staff with many patients and service users. It was humbling to be part of this focussed collaboration between parkrun and the NHS; both being free at the point of delivery. We hope that colleagues and users of all services continue to enjoy the benefits of healthy exercise in an inclusive environment. 

Chris Whitby, High Intensity Practitioner with First Step, promoted the service at the event.

“Leaflets were given out and information provided on more recent developments such as CCBT (Computer Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) which is being piloted by the trust. Talking therapies and life style changes such as exercise can help in the treatment of anxiety and depression. The benefits of parkrun are they provide a regular structured run, supporting people to improve their fitness and wellbeing.”

You can watch the NHS 70 parkrun video here.