On Saturday November 14th the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing welcomed over twenty former chief guests and supporters of the Health Mela programme to a virtual get together.

The event aimed –

  • to celebrate and put on record highlights of twenty years’ work in promoting

community health

  • to recognise and express the Forum’s deepest appreciation of the countless

individuals and organisation whose contributions have played an essential part in its work over the years

  • to launch a commemorative brochure, “Celebrating 20 years of the Health Mela”.

Professor Romesh Gupta OBE opened the proceedings welcoming guests and paying tribute to the many hundreds of volunteers who, over the years, have worked tirelessly to overcome health inequalities.

The Forum was especially honoured to welcome as first guest the Right Honourable Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, Speaker of the House of Commons. Noting the Forum’s origin in Lancashire, Sir Lindsay spoke warmly of his experience of a Health Mela and recognised the important role these events played in enabling visitors to make informed decisions about their own health.

Following speakers each had a unique perspective on the twenty-year history of the National Forum for Health and Wellbeing. Maggie Rae for example recognised the important role it played in supporting family and community health. Together the guests painted a rich picture of the many and varied experiences and insights the Forum’s programme has provided for participants over two decades.

As the anniversary event unfolded, guests shared defining memories of Health Melas past. One told of a visit to the Health MOT resulting in his early diagnosis with type 2 diabetes and a subsequent positive outcome; a second recounted an opportunity to try, first-hand, what it felt like to be a patient in an ‘iron-lung’; a third praised the value of the experience students gained in talking over health issues with ‘well’ visitors and another recalled the sheer enjoyment of the day. These comments and many more like them are a valued indication of how worthwhile the Health Mela endeavour has been and continues to be.

The National Forum for Health and Wellbeing enters its third decade of activity in high spirits and with a determination to build well upon its existing achievements. In the words of Professor John Ashton, we can, “… celebrate the energy, creativity and commitment of all those involved and …. Look onwards and upwards to bigger and better things …”

Finally, members of the Steering Group of the Forum put on record their pleasure that so many friends and supporters have contributed to this Anniversary Celebration and look forward to many more years of collaboration to achieve our shared goals.

If you would like to experience the celebration first-hand you can find a recording of it on the YouTube at:

https://youtu.be/TPuAbRr_rI8

The Anniversary Brochure is available to read using the link below:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/4djmluvofgg6mxq/NFHW-20-anniversary-spreads.pdf?dl=0

List of Guests in order of appearance

The Right Honourable Sir Lyndsay Hoyle MP – Speaker of the House of Commons

The Lord Shuttleworth KG, KCVO – Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire

Professor Maggie Rae – President, Faculty of Public Health

Dr Francis Andrews – Medical Director, Royal Bolton Hospital

Professor John Ashton CBE – Former President, Faculty of Public Health

Mr Stuart Heys – former Chairman, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Dr Rajeev Gupta – Consultant Paediatrician, Barnsley Hospital NHS Trust

Mr Ishwer Tailor MBE DL JP – President, Gujarat Hindu Society, Preston

Dr Martin Myers MBE and colleagues – The ‘Blood Drop’ Team, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Professor Chris Moulton – former Vice-President, Royal College of Emergency Medicine

Professor Rob Campbell – former Pro-vice Chancellor, University of Bolton

Mr Russell Hogarth – Hon. Fellow, University of Central Lancashire

Professor John Middleton – former President, Faculty of Public Health, President Association of Schools of

Public Health in the European Region

Rtn Kevin Walsh – former District Governor, Rotary Cumbria and Lancashire

Dr Alka Gupta – GP Manchester

Professor Satyan Rajbhandari – Consultant Physician, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Professor Ruth Hussey – CB, OBE, DL – former Chief Medical Officer, Wales

Dr Mike Cheshire – former Medical Director, NHS North West

Dr Abhay Vaidya – retd Consultant Anaesthetist, past PBL Facilitator, University of Central Lancashire

Sarifa Kabir – Child & Young Person Advocate, SAFE Centre, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Professor Sir Graeme Catto FRSE – Former President, General Medical Council

Professor Dame Christine Beasley = Former Chief Nursing Officer, England

Dr Chandrika (Madhu) Shah – NFHW member and former GP

The Forum also gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Dr Kailash Chandh now sadly deceased.