Photograph of Lorna Armstrong and Karen Baggaley
Sisters Lorna Armstrong and Karen Baggaley are health visitors with 85-years NHS service between them

Selfless service, a can-do attitude and a willingness to step up when needed are characteristics of long-serving NHS staff, whose work is being celebrated as the NHS turns 75 on Wednesday 5 July 2023.

At Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, sisters Karen Baggaley and Lorna Armstrong have over 75-years’ service between them (85 in total). Karen enjoyed dressing up as a nurse so much when she was a child, it led her to begin training for the real thing in 1981, following her sister into the profession.

Now both work as health visitors, Karen in the Keighley and Shipley team and Lorna in the East team, which covers Eccleshill, Bolton, Undercliffe, Windhill and Wrose, Bowling and Barkerend, Bradford Moor and Idle and Thackley.

Lorna says of her work: “I feel very privileged as a health visitor to enter people’s homes and have the chance to form a relationship with them at such a crucial time in their lives,” and Karen agrees: “I love meeting and talking to so many interesting clients and working with lovely, helpful team members.”

Our Trust provides mental health, community, learning disability and children’s services for local people at all stages of life, and mental health liaison nurse Cynthia Hardisty, who joined the NHS in 1976, supports care homes in the Craven area from Eastburn to Ingleton. She epitomizes the pride in the job which so many NHS staff feel: “The NHS – what an amazing system to invent, it’s renowned all over the world. We should all be proud of it – and I’m even more proud to work in it,” she says. “We’re so fortunate to have this amazing service.”

Photograph of Leeroy Golding
Podiatry team leader Leeroy Golding still enjoys his work in the NHS after 28-years’ service

There may be challenges along the way, but long-serving staff at the Trust often point to the ability to make a difference for the people they serve is what makes the job so worthwhile.

Leeroy Golding, podiatry team leader based in Skipton, Keighley and Bingley, has been working in the NHS for 28 years. He says: “I always look forward to the day ahead. I enjoy my profession, the people I work with and most of all, the interaction with people who use our services. The feedback I get from them makes me feel so valued and feeds my enthusiasm for the job.”

‘We Care, We Listen, We Deliver’ are the values Trust staff embody – no more so than Christine Cunliffe, an assistant practitioner on Heather Ward at Airedale Centre for Mental Health with over 36-years’ service, who is renowned for her phrase, “I’m just doing my job”.

Just doing her job saw Christine not only working long, hot shifts in full personal protective equipment on the ward throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but also taking up the call and volunteering for extra shifts at the COVID-19 vaccination hubs in Bradford when the vaccination programme was first rolled out.

Photograph of Christine Cunliffe
Christine Cunliffe is an assistant practitioner on Heather Ward at Airedale Centre for Mental Health with over 36-years’ service

These extraordinary staff and many others will be celebrated as part of national celebrations for the NHS’s 75th birthday. At the Care Trust, plans to mark the milestone birthday include, of course, a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake. But as staff and patients gather for an NHS Big Tea party at the Four Seasons Café at Lynfield Mount Hospital, they will also have the opportunity to read or watch a video of a poem composed specifically to mark the occasion and thank each and every one of the team at the Care Trust.

Occupational therapist and clinical manager Lorna Dunsire’s poem thanks housekeepers, gardeners, cooks and kitchen staff, volunteers and IT professionals, healthcare support workers and allied health professionals, doctors and nurses, administrative and pharmacy staff, psychologists and involvement partners – all local people in so many different roles at the Care Trust, each one an integral part in the delivery of services for local communities.

The Care Trust’s Chief Executive Therese Patten says: “We should all be incredibly proud of the NHS and I invite everyone to raise a cuppa to toast this special milestone 75th birthday. I want to thank in particular our Care Trust’s dedicated staff and volunteers, and our partners, the everyday heroes making a difference day-in, day-out to the people we support right across Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven. A heartfelt thank you for all you do.”

Photo of Trust staff wishing the NHS a Happy 75th Birthday
Happy 75th Birthday NHS say staff from Oakburn Ward at Lynfield Mount