St Brigid's Day 2023 Celebrating Irish Women in the NHS
Luton Irish Forum marked Lá Fhéile Bríde 2023 (St Brigid’s Day) by hosting its seventh annual Afternoon Tea event on St Brigid’s Day [1st February] celebrating the achievements of Irish women in the NHS.
Some 95 guests enjoyed chatting with friends old and new at the beautiful South Beds Golf just outside Luton. The event was opened by Orla McBreen, Head of the Foreign Policy section at the Irish Embassy, London.
The 2023 Afternoon Tea programme showcased the stories of three women from the local Irish community; Betty Half Penny and Roseanna Anderson who came to the UK to be nurses and Rosaleen Burke, Radiographer. Rosaleen has been working at The Luton & Dunstable Hospital for over 50 years! The event also featured interviews with Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu pioneer of Sickle Cell care in the UK, Professor Louise Ryan and Grainne McPolin who are working on an oral history of Irish nurses for the London Metropolitan Archive and Dr Mary Tilki, founder of the Cuimhne (memory) project to help those with dementia. Luton MPs Sarah Owen and Rachel Hopkins were among the guests of honour. Luton Irish Forum is delighted that they could attend and appreciate them giving their time, especially at a weekend.
Traditional music was played by talented trio, Inis Eire.
Luton Irish Forum received extremely positive feedback from attendees immediately. Mary Kelly said,” A wonderful afternoon! My first time to attend but would definitely go again. Very well organised.” Rita Kearney enthused, “Amazing day. Enjoyed it so much. Thanks to everyone for such a wonderful day!” The attendee survey showed that nearly 50% of the women attending come year on year and it was great to see so many familiar faces.
Elleesa Rushby, Communications Officer at Luton Irish Forum said, “It’s been an honour to capture these inspirational stories of resilience, humour and achievement and to give these the ladies the recognition they deserve.