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Image relating to Freedom of the City plaque unveiled at University Hospital

Freedom of the City plaque unveiled at University Hospital

A plaque marking the Freedom of the City awarded to University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust has been unveiled today.

Coventry City Council bestowed the honour as a thank you for the Trust’s efforts in supporting the city through the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plaque is on display outside the front of University Hospital, Coventry, and was revealed during a short ceremony attended by staff and chief officers from the Trust as well as Council Leader, Councillor George Duggins, and the Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Kevin Maton.

UHCW Chief Executive Officer, Professor Andy Hardy, said: “Our staff rose to the challenge during the most challenging period in the history of the NHS.

“Passing this plaque on their way to work each day will be a reminder for them of the appreciation people have for the dedication and selflessness they showed.”

UHCW Chair, Dame Stella Manzie, added: “To receive this very rare honour was a special moment for everyone associated with UHCW.

“It is a privilege for the Trust to continue to work with the council, public and private sector partners, community groups and citizens to serve our great city.”

The honour was proposed in recognition of the ‘incredible work’ of NHS staff at the Trust and in the community, culminating in UHCW being chosen in December 2020 to deliver the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine.

The decision was then made at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the council at Coventry Cathedral last July, immediately followed by a service of celebration attended by more than 300 UHCW staff.

Leader of Coventry City Council, Councillor Duggins, said: “This plaque is a permanent reminder to all who pass this spot of the bravery shown by you and your colleagues, and of our city’s gratitude for that.

“It reminds us of the sacrifices you made and of the incredible debt we owe to the doctors, nurses and support staff who saw us through those difficult days. 

“Thank you to all at the Trust, may this plaque always be a reminder of a grateful city’s thanks.”

Lord Mayor, Councillor Maton, added: “It is wonderful that the efforts of NHS staff during the pandemic and what they do every day has been formally recognised in this way.

“When people see this plaque, they will know they are in the best, bravest and most caring hands they could wish for. Hands that kept a city safe.”

UHCW is the first non-military organisation to receive the honour, last given in 2013 to Coventry's adopted Royal Navy ship HMS Diamond.

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