Speakers and guests include: Aneira Thomas, Paul Halas, tPortraits of 12 people and groups speaking at the NHS 70 eventhe Songs of Change Choir, Dr Roy Lamb, Jack Saunders, Rhonda Evans, Martin Stockwell, Pete Gillard, Zac Arnold, David Drew MP, James Beecher, Stroud Red Band, the Songs of Change choir, David Whitfield, Midge Purcell, Nadine Smykatz-Kloss and more. A list of biographies is below:

Aneira Thomas

Aneira Thomas was born at one minute past midnight on 5 July 1948, making her first baby in Great Britain to be born into the NHS. She was named after Aneurin Bevan, the minister for health at the time who led on the plan for the NHS.

Aneira spent her career working in the NHS as a mental health nurse (her four sisters were also nurses, and her daughter is now a paramedic), and continues to be an active supporter of the NHS, speaking out on a range of issues in the media and at public rallies. Aneira Thomas is speaking as part of the opening session at 10.30am in Lansdown Hall. [sadly we have learned that Aneira will be unable to be with us in person – she will join us by phone, and at a later date TBC in Stroud.]

Paul Halas

Paul Halas was educated at a progressive co-educational boarding school before going on to study film-making and then “dropping out” for several years – which involved dipping into a variety of odd jobs during those boring moments money was needed. More by luck than judgement, it was discovered he had a talent for children’s story and script writing, so he moved to the West Country to escape the more malign influences of the big city, and spent the next thirty-five years contributing to various European Disney comics magazines – to the tune of well over a thousand titles.

He has now retired from comics and is active in local politics, serving the twins functions of writer and nuisance. Paul will introduce Halas and Batchelor’s public information animation which helped launched the NHS: “Your Very Good Health”, as part of our opening session from 10.30am – 11.15 in Lansdown Hall.

Rhonda Evans

Rhonda Evans is from Doncaster in South Yorkshire. Brought up in a mining village, she was the first person in her family to study for a degree. She then spent four years training on local newspapers and local radio as a journalist, before joining the Documentary department at the BBC where she trained to be a film maker. She makes films about education and social policy, including a film commissioned for the National Archive on the NHS in Manchester to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS. Rhonda will introduce her Director’s cut of her film “The NHS: Where it all began” as part of our “70 years of the NHS” session from 11.30-1pm in Lansdown Hall. The film explores the history of the NHS through the lens of Park Hospital, Urmston – now Trafford Hospital – where Bevan launched the NHS in 1948. The poignant and informative film features archive footage, photos and interviews with staff. More information: www.evanswoolfe.com

Roy Lamb

Dr Roy Lamb is a retired GP, and has been President of Stroud Hospital league of Friends for the last nineteen years. He came to Stroud in the terrible winter of December 1962 taking over the one-man Uplands practice of Dr Royal, before joining with Dr Jack Newton running a practice at his house in Lansdown (Brookfield). He was also appointed as Anaesthetist at Stroud hospital, the Maternity hospital, and later at Standish hospital. After a decade, Roy and Jack moved to the Health Centre, and after a further 10 years moved into their purpose built surgery at Locking Hill. After retiring in 1993, Dr Lamb continued to do some locum work at the hospital for a couple of years. In the 30 years, Dr Lamb served on fifteen Committees (chairing some of them) in Gloucestershire and the South West Region, including membership of the Gloucestershire Area Health Authority and Family Practitioner Committee. After retirement he was Chairman of Gloucestershire Chest Fund for 10 years. Dr Roy Lamb will speak during the “70 years of the NHS” session from 11.30-1pm in Lansdown Hall.

Jack Saunders

Dr Jack Saunders is a historian of work and workplace culture in post-war Britain, working first on car factories 1945-77, and now the NHS 1948-present. His focus is on researching the experiences and changing attitudes of NHS staff, as a member of the research team of the Cultural History of the NHS project at the University of Warwick – funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Jack has written a number of pieces for of the People’s History of the NHS website. The People’s History of the NHS project encourages people to contribute to research about what the NHS means and how it has shaped our lives since its creation. Jack is running a survey of people’s experiences working for the NHS (pdf). It should take around 30 minutes to fill in and can then be returned by email to nhsengage@warwick.ac.uk or by post to Jack Saunders, Centre for the History of Medicine, University of Warwick, CV4 7AL.

Pete Gillard

Pete Gillard is Treasurer of Health Campaigns Together, on the Executive Committee of Keep Our NHS Public, and active in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Defend Our NHS.

Before retirement, Pete was a trade unionist from the IT industry in Unite and its predecessor unions as everything from a workplace representative to regional chair, as well as some national roles. Pete lives in Ludlow, and describes himself as “a lifelong socialist”. According to the calculator, he was the 644,993rd baby born in the NHS.

Pete Gillard is the main speaker for “The NHS in rural areas” session: 2-3pm in Lansdown Hall.

David Drew is MP for the Stroud constituency. He was MP from 1997 to 2010, and regained his seat again on 9 June 2017. He was born in Gloucestershire, and lives in Stonehouse. Since his return to Parliament he has been Shadow Farming and Rural Affairs Minister, following a decade as a member of the Agriculture Select Committee, and its successor Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee from 1999 until 2010. David has also been Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Nailsworth Football club, Forest Green Rovers. David Drew MP will introduce the “The NHS in rural areas” session: 2-3pm in Lansdown Hall.

Zac Arnold

Zac Arnold is a 17 year old A-Level student from the Forest of Dean studying Politics, Psychology, English Literature and Media Studies at Wyedean Sixth Form Centre. He is an active young trade unionist and Activist, specifically focusing on issues such as health and education. He is currently the press Liaison, Crowdfunding Promoter and Secretary for the Hands Off Lydney and Dilke hospitals (HOLD) campaign. The HOLD campaign is a community led campaign to retain at least two community hospitals in the Forest of Dean, against the sell-off and closure of the Dilke and Lydney hospital sites and demanding investment, not a single, smaller, new hospital. Founded in May 2017. Zac Arnold is speaking during “The NHS in rural areas” session: 2-3pm in Lansdown Hall.

Stroud Red Band

The Stroud Red Band is a community-based ensemble, formed in 2016, that plays on the streets in support of progressive causes. They play a selection of African, Latin, protest and the odd Jazz or pop tune. More: Stroud Red Band on Facebook.

If you’d like to play this sort of music too, and you have the kind of instrument that can be played on the move, then they invite you to join them, saying “it doesn’t matter how good you are, we’re all getting better together”. The Stroud Red Band will meet outside Razmachaz charity shop (as in picture), before marching from the top to the bottom of the High Street, ready to play a few tunes in Bank Gardens between 1.30pm and 2.00pm.

Songs of Change Choir

Songs of Change are a peace and protest singing group based in Stroud. We sing songs for peace, for unity and equality, for the land and the environment, for justice and freedom. More: www.songsofchange.co.uk. The Songs of Change repertoire is suggested and chosen by the group, with help from singing leader Sophie Sterckx. The choir attends and performs at local protests, marches and other events and busk in Stroud high street and market to raise awareness and fundraise for charities. The choir meets on most Tuesday’s during school term-time, 7.30pm – 9pm in the Maypole Village Hall, Paganhill, Stroud. Glos. GL5 4AN. Songs of Change will sing “Save The NHS” and “NHS Hallelujah” between 11.15 and 11.30am, outside in Bank Gardens (weather permitting!)

James Beecher

James Beecher is Chair of Stroud Against the Cuts, the organisation which started the Keep Gloucestershire’s NHS Public campaign in 2011. James works as a researcher at Citizens Online – a charity which helps organisations ensure the switch to online doesn’t exclude people.

James has lived in Stroud all of his life – almost! – he wasn’t born in Stroud Maternity.

As well as facilitating the sessions and helping to organise the event, James will present during the session on “The NHS in international context” 3-4pm in Lansdown Hall (even though he’s a bit disappointed he’ll have to miss the World Cup quarter final to do so).

Midge Purcell and David Whitfield

David Whitfield lived in Portland, Oregon from 2004 to 2011, where he worked in a large public high school teaching mathematics. During this time the family was on a union-negotiated health plan, with Kaiser Permanente. Before leaving for the USA David qualified and worked as a teacher after working for the trade unions Unison and Nalgo, and spending much of his life as a journalist. David now lives in Stroud and starts a two-year course at Stroud School of Art in September.

Midge Purcell was a founding member of the Oregon Health Equity Alliance, a statewide healthcare coalition advocating for improved access and health outcomes for communities of color. She was instrumental in developing equity plans at both city and state level and steered through a number of bills at the state legislature, including inclusion of equity provisions in the state healthcare structure and legislation requiring cultural competency training for health care provider. Her team published the first State of Black Oregon, an influential report on the social and economic status of African Americans in the state. In UK she has written two extensive reports on race and equity for NHS England.

Nadine Smykatz-Kloss

Nadine Smykatz-Kloss is a German/ British citizen who has lived in Stroud for 22 years. With parents and a nephew in Germany and a sister in the US, she has had opportunity to compare different health systems to each other.

Nadine and Uta Baldauf will give an overview of how the German Health System works during the session on “The NHS in international context” 3-4pm in Lansdown Hall.