Celebrating 170 years of the Jenny Lind

This year we are celebrating 170 years of our dedicated children’s hospital.

On 3 April 1854 the Jenny Lind Children’s Hospital opened its doors to its first patients and in commemoration we get the party started on Wednesday 3 April with a range of activities including a team of clowns who visit regularly to help the play team on the children’s wards. Our PAT (Pets as Therapy) dogs are also visiting, along with Norfolk Storyteller Amanda Smith who is retelling the Jenny Lind story to patients and their families.

Later in the afternoon, key members of our children’s hospital team will be showcasing their departments with stands in the East Atrium, where soft drinks and, of course cake, are also on offer. There will then be a series of talks, with a welcome from our Chair Tom Spink, covering our talks on our past, present and future. The day will finish with an invitation to join a tour around our recently opened paediatric theatres complex.

A permanent memento will be a special 24-page anniversary magazine, packed full of patient and staff stories and activity by the N&N Hospitals Charity.

We follow that with a glittering orchestral gala on Saturday 6 April when musicians from Norwich Sinfonietta will be performing at St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich. They will begin with the children’s favourites Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, and Debussy’s Children’s Corner.

The event will showcase professional sopranos Ella de Jongh and locally based Rebecca Kaznowski who will sing popular opera arias and oratorio, some written for Swedish Opera singer Jenny Lind herself and featuring composers such as Dvorak, Mozart and Mendelssohn. The event will be narrated by actress Emma Laird Craig, a direct descendant of Jenny Lind.

All money raised will go to the N&N Hospitals Charity to raise funds for the latest campaign for

parental accommodation at the Jenny Lind Children’s Hospital. To buy tickets, visit Norwich Sinfonietta’s website.

We also have a JLCH Takeover of the Colney Park Run at 9am on that Saturday morning. Paediatric Consultant Surgeon AB Mathur and Children’s Matron, Alice Cook are training hard for the London Landmarks Half Marathon on the Sunday.

Throughout the spring and the summer Paul Dickson is running a series of Jenny Lind walking tours with unique opportunities to visit where the singer stayed and the remains of the first Children’s Hospital in Norwich. Paul is donating ticket proceeds from two walks to JLCH and will invite donations on all walks.  Tours can be booked now at Paul Dickson – Jenny Lind and Norwich

And we invite anyone who has a story to tell about their experiences with The Jenny – be they staff – past or present – patients, fundraisers, supporters in general, to share their stories and pictures by emailing into us at JLCHBirthday@nnuh.nhs.uk

Tom Spink, NNUH Chair, added: “The Jenny has grown into a renowned specialist centre with services dedicated purely to children and young people. It is now massive with dedicated paediatric physiotherapy, occupational therapy, psychology and dietetic teams providing a holistic approach to paediatric care. Our paediatric team is also involved in international collaborations, with established strong links to the UEA, and the Quadram Institute, which further enables us to provide that specialist care.”

Richard England, NNUH Paediatric Consultant Surgeon and keen Jenny Lind historian said: “We mark this anniversary to take the opportunity to remember the legacy of Jenny Lind and to celebrate the subsequent development of paediatric care across the East of England. I look forward to seeing supporters of The Jenny throughout the year.”

Julie Cooper, Head of Grants at the N&N Hospitals Charity, said: “Some of our children can be in hospital for weeks or even months at a time, with some of our young patients coming from other counties, including Suffolk and Essex, so having somewhere to stay close by can make a huge difference at such a worrying time.”

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