Sheffield 'NHS baby' celebrates her 70th on the same day as the service

Carol West (photo submitted).
Carol West (photo submitted).
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A Sheffield-born woman will tomorrow celebrate the birthday she shares with one of our most beloved national institutions.

Carol West, from Woodsetts, near Worksop, was born in Tinsley on July 5, 1948 – the exact day the NHS was created.

Carol was born at her grandma’s house on the site of what is now Sheffield’s new Ikea superstore - and says her dad always used to tell her he was very pleased she came when she did.

“In those days it cost two and six to see a doctor – half a crown,” she said.

“I should have been born before I was but my dad was telling my mum to hold on.

“Half a crown was a lot of money then. Not having to spend money on a doctor would have meant we had more food to eat.”

Carol says as well as the money for the doctor, her arrival also gave her parents an extra five shillings from the family allowance which kicked in when the second child was born.

She says she doesn’t feel her age but the recent rash of programmes about the NHS’s big birthday has made her more conscious of it.

She said: “I am all for the NHS – I think it is wonderful. But it is a pity that there is not more money going into it.

“I have always paid into it and I have got a fair bit out of it as well. I think it should be recognised a bit more than it is.”

Carol, who lives with her husband in Woodsetts, will celebrate her big day with a trip to Bridlington with sister Dorothy and her husband.

The NHS was created on July, 7 1948, by Labour Health Secretary Aneurin Bevan.

It was based on ideas developed by Liberal economist William Beveridge, who wanted to create a ‘welfare state’ to fight the ‘five giants’ of want, disease, squalor, ignorance and idleness.

The NHS in Sheffield will mark its 70th birthday with a celebration event on Thursday outside the cathedral between 11am and 5.30pm.