Northern Ireland news

Oscar winner James Martin launches series of parkruns to celebrate 75 years of the NHS

James Martin (right) launched a parkrun in Stormont as part of celebrations for 75 years of the NHS.
Allan Preston

Belfast Oscar winner James Martin and the Department of Health’s top civil servant have launched a series of parkruns to mark the 75 years of the NHS.

Mr Martin and the Department of Health’s Permanent Secretary Peter May joined hundreds of runners at Stormont over the weekend ahead of other parkruns for the NHS taking place next month.

Most of the events will take place on Saturday, July 8, with additional junior events on Sunday, July 9.

Speaking at Stormont, Mr Martin said: “I regularly volunteer at Queen’s parkrun and it was an honour to be at Stormont parkrun to help launch the start of NHS 75 anniversary celebrations.

“Parkrun is inclusive for all as it doesn’t matter what your ability is. It was great to see so many people taking part and enjoying the sunshine.”

Department of Health Permanent Secretary Peter May, James Martin and student nurse Anne Smith.

Mr May added that it was “a significant milestone” for the health service and an opportunity to recognise and acknowledge all those who have played a part in the NHS over the last 75 years.

“I would encourage everyone to come and join us on the Saturday, July 8, whether you volunteer, walk, jog or run.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for people to come together and be active outdoors, while recognising and celebrating the incredible contribution of the health service and to thank and support our HSC staff.”

Event Support Ambassador for parkrun and student nurse Anne Smith said: “It was a pleasure to be asked to attend Stormont parkrun, one of the four launch events for parkrun for NHS, celebrating the NHS’s 75th birthday.

“Parkrun encourages communities to come together outdoors, to walk, jog, run or volunteer and improve their health and wellbeing.

“There is no time limit, no one finishes last, and everyone is welcome to come along.

"Parkrun for NHS’s 75th birthday will be an opportunity to encourage more people to come out (in July) and get involved in their local parkrun events to celebrate the work of NHS staff and volunteers as well as the contribution the students make.”

Joggers at Stormont taking part in a parkrun to honour 75 years of the NHS. Further events will take place across Northern Ireland on July 8 and July 9.

Information on your nearest parkrun location can be found at this location.

With events taking place across the UK to mark the 75th anniversary of the NHS, in Northern Ireland the George Cross medal is also on display in the Ulster Museum while many buildings, historic monuments and other high-profile sites across Northern Ireland will ‘light up’ blue on the evening of July 5.

Northern Ireland news