We Meet The Yorkshire Members of the NHS Choir | Living North

We Meet The Yorkshire Members of the NHS Choir

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NHS Choir
After a spectacular closing performance at the BRIT Awards, Rag’n’Bone Man & P!nk have released ‘Anywhere Away From Here’ with the Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir. We catch up with two of the choir’s Yorkshire-based members

Raising goosebumps from audiences both in the arena and at home, the collaboration is sure to go down as a BRITs standout. 

The NHS choir do their singing and rehearsing in their spare time, all while providing amazing care for the residents of their local boroughs. Disciplines from Physiotherapy to Chemotherapy are all represented in the Trust Choir’s diverse group of singers. 

One member, Zoe Davies, hails from the small Yorkshire village of Great Smeaton. She worked her way up to her current position of Consultant Endocrinologist – and now works primarily on one of Whipps Cross Hospital’s Covid wards. But Zoe found more than a medical career at Lewisham and Greenwich – she was a founder member of the choir and through the choir, she met her husband Tom Jackson. 

How does it feel to release this charity single and to have performed at the BRITs?

Surreal. Something I never thought would happen, but it’s amazing.

What does the single mean to you?

It means amazing support for the NHS, and the people that work for it. The proceeds all go to NHS charities who are doing really valuable work, including supporting staff from a mental health point of view after the pandemic, which is really important. 

How has the last year been for you?

The last year has been really hard; I work as a doctor, and lead a team of doctors in general medicine and diabetes and endocrinology. I worked on Covid wards during the pandemic, and found it tough emotionally and physically. We had to cancel a lot of our routine outpatient clinics with our diabetes patients just to be able to cope with patients in hospital. We are still trying to recover from that, and putting in a lot of work, which is stressful because I want to be able to provide a really good-quality service.

How have local people in Yorkshire come together to support you and the wider NHS?

I’m originally from Great Smeaton, a village in North Yorkshire, and went to school in Northallerton nearby. I haven’t lived in North Yorkshire for many years, but my mum does. The support for the NHS during this last year has been incredible, and shows that the NHS is really important to people. I’m proud to live in a country that prioritises free healthcare for all. 

Hopes for the future?

On a professional level, to provide the best service for our patients, and back to a ’new normal’ after Covid. I also hope we don’t have another wave of Covid. I’m really hoping that I get to go on holiday at some point too. My husband and I got married last year, and still have not had a honeymoon.

 

Tenor member Jacob Husband, from York, works at the specialist sexual health Trafalgar Clinic at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

How does it feel to release this charity single and to have performed at the BRITs?

It feels very surreal to have performed live at the BRIT awards with Rag’n’Bone Man and P!nk, to have interviews to promote the single, and then to head to work the next morning as if the previous night hadn't happened – and then hear it playing on the radio! It was very emotional. During the dress rehearsal, a few of us got teary-eyed when we heard Jack Whitehall introduce us for the first time. To share that moment with key workers in the audience who have worked incredibly hard during the pandemic was very special. 

What does this single mean to you? 

Many of us who worked with coronavirus patients have sad stories to tell and memories that will live with us throughout our careers. This single acts as recognition of those difficult moments and represents the light at the end of the tunnel. 

How has the last year been for you?

It has been a steep learning curve. I qualified as a nurse in 2019 and had a few months grace before the first wave. I worked on an acute admission unit in Whitechapel which quickly became a coronavirus ward, full of very sick people. At this time, it was very new to us which was frightening. During the summer I moved into my dream role as a Sexual Health Nurse which gave me time around my job to join the vaccination effort in Lewisham and Greenwich, and also volunteer after my regular shifts on the ICU at Queen Elizabeth to support the hard-working nurses there. The teamwork during this time has been incredible. 

How have the people of Yorkshire come together to support you?

As I grew up and trained in Yorkshire, I have many friends and family in the area who have supported me throughout. Many amazing nurses I trained with work in York and Leeds have had similar experiences, and it's been so important more than ever to keep those connections. 

Hopes for the future?

That we can take forward the lessons learnt during the pandemic to continue to support the welfare of staff working in healthcare. 

 

Anywhere Away From Here is a charity single and the money raised will go to the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Charity and NHS Charities Together, who represent the charities of all NHS Trusts in the UK. 

NHS Charities Together have recently launched a new appeal urging the public to be ‘there for them’ as NHS staff face the triple challenge of dealing with the continuing impact of Covid, tackling the backlog of other patients who desperately need treatment and making sure their own mental health isn’t a casualty of the crisis. The charity will use the funds raised through the new appeal to significantly ramp up the mental health and wellbeing programmes and facilities available for staff across the UK.

Find out more and show your support at nhscharitiestogether.co.uk, and don’t forget to listen to Anywhere Away From Here on all platforms now.

Published in: June 2021

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