Statue to honour Windrush nurses unveiled outside Whittington Hospital

Peray Ahmet, Adam Jogee, Doirean Wilson, Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Troy Gallagher and Myrtle Laing

Haringey leader Peray Ahmet, Haringey mayor Adam Jogee, Chair of Nubian Jak Community Trust Doirean Wilson, Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Cllr Troy Gallagher and Myrtle Laing - Credit: Islington Council

A statue has been unveiled outside Whittington Hospital to commemorate the efforts of Windrush and Commonwealth NHS nurses and midwives.

The statue was formally unveiled to an audience that included councillors, NHS staff and former nurses and midwives at a special event on Friday (10 September). 

About 40,000 nurses and midwives from around the Commonwealth came to the UK from 1948 to 1973 to help the fledging NHS, which was facing problems recruiting enough staff, and it has been said that the NHS would have collapsed without their contributions.  

To mark their dedicated service, heritage organisation Nubian Jak, worked with Islington Council, the Whittington Health NHS Trust and Haringey Council, to commission the granite statue outside the hospital.   

Peray Ahmet, Adam Jogee, Doirean Wilson, Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Troy Gallagher and Myrtle Laing

Haringey leader Peray Ahmet, Haringey mayor Adam Jogee, Chair of Nubian Jak Community Trust Doirean Wilson, Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, Cllr Troy Gallagher and Myrtle Laing - Credit: Islington Council

The statue, which represents a stylised nurse, was made possible following a campaign that raised nearly £100,000, of which the council contributed more than £16,000 through the local initiatives fund.   


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Islington's community chief, Cllr Una O’Halloran, said: “The contribution of this generation of nurses and midwives to this country and our health system cannot be overstated, and it’s vitally important that they are commemorated appropriately.  

“There are far too few monuments to this extraordinary generation, and we are proud, as part of our ambition to tackle inequality in our borough, to have supported the creation of this statue outside the Whittington Health."

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Whittington's chief nurse Michelle Johnson added:  “We are delighted to be able to symbolise our gratitude for Windrush and Commonwealth nurses and midwives and the immeasurable way they have contributed to the NHS.

"I hope that the memorial will encourage everyone to find out about the history of nursing and to give a sense of pride to the nurses and midwives who work at our Trust as well as those across the country.” 

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