Norfolk woman leads nation's toast to NHS from England's highest peak
- Credit: Tremaine Kent
Following on from the rainbows and doorstep applause, a woman from Gorleston joined three other NHS workers from the highest peaks in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to pay a towering tribute to frontline workers.
Tara Haines climbed Scafell Pike in the Lake District, England's highest mountain, as part of NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers Day, on Monday July 5, co-ordinated by Gorleston-based pageantmaster Bruno Peek.
Miss Haines, a project manager with the NHS for 27 years, set off at around 9am, taking some three hours to scale its almost 1,000m rocky flanks where she led the nation's toast with a mini bottle of bubbly and a plastic cup.
Conditions were wet and misty with loose stones making the climb slippery and treacherous, she said.
The 47-year-old, who worked at the James Paget University Hospital throughout the pandemic, said she saw from the inside how everyone rose to the challenge in difficult and dangerous conditions, and said that being able to take such a prominent role in the celebrations was "a real honour."
The biggest challenge on the day was the steepness, leaving her struggling for breath, she said.
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Initially, the climb was scheduled to mark VE day but was postponed to chime with celebrations to thank the NHS.
Miss Haines was joined for the climb by her partner Tremaine Kent who she was due to marry during the pandemic.
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The couple had intended to say "I do" in a helicopter over Niagara Falls - a ceremony that became totally off-limits due to coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Peek said the JPUH and the town should be proud of her unique achievement in leading the nation's toast - which for him meant a glass of water on the doorstep.
"It is no mean feat," he said. "And Scafell is not the easiest.
"They have made history those women have."
Meanwhile Freemasons from across Norfolk played a leading role in launching the day by flying specially designed flags.
The organisation has donated almost 3.5 million teddies to hospitals, minor injuries clinics, and other NHS services to comfort young children during times of distress.
As part of commemoration events members visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital's Roxburgh Children’s Centre meeting George Cullum, who was there with his mum Rebecca, and to to donate more of the popular Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) to the hospital.
To find out more or to donate visit nhsfrontlineday.org.