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UHCW NHS Trust granted Freedom of the City as Covid-19 thanks

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust has been granted the Freedom of the City of Coventry as a thank you for supporting the city through the Covid-19 pandemic.

An Extraordinary General Meeting of Coventry City Council was held on Thursday (14 July) at Coventry Cathedral, following a short parade from the Council House that featured a range of NHS staff as well as Lord Mayor, Cllr Kevin Maton, and councillors.

The honour was proposed last year 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.

An illuminated minute and plaque commemorating the event was presented, and guests saw a short video showing the diversity of work carried out at UHCW during the pandemic.

There was also a series of short stories from staff reflecting the challenges of the pandemic.

Professor Andy Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of UHCW NHS Trust, said: “On behalf of the Trust, it is a privilege to accept this honour that has been bestowed on us by Coventry City Council.

“Our staff rose to the challenge during the most challenging period in the history of the NHS and I know they will be as delighted as I am to see that dedication recognised by the city they so proudly serve.”

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

“It will be part of our history and act as a reminder for future generations to ensure the incredible efforts of our staff in dealing with the pandemic are not forgotten.”

Leader of the Council, Cllr George Duggins, said: “Over the past two years, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected every individual, household, community, business and organisation in our city.

“It has been a time of loss, sacrifice, hardship and struggle. Yet it also showed us the very best of human nature with many examples of selflessness and sacrifice. That was nowhere more evident than in our amazing NHS and our own UHCW NHS Trust.

“Our NHS workers did an incredible job to combat Covid-19. They were on the frontline from the very beginning, risking their own health and safety to protect others and save lives.

“I am delighted we are holding this special day to show how very grateful we are as a city and as individuals for all the Trust and its employees have done.”

Lord Mayor, Cllr Maton, added: “The freedom of the city is a rare and very special honour and I am sure everyone will agree that it is very well deserved.

“The hospital and our NHS staff are there for us every day and have been for generations. We already owed them so much, but Covid-19 reinforced just what amazing work they do and what they mean to us. It will be a great day for the city.”

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