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Abbey celebrates 300th anniversary of Westminster Hospital

Thursday, 23rd May 2019

Abbey celebrates 300th anniversary of Westminster Hospital

A service of thanksgiving to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Westminster Hospital was held at Westminster Abbey at Noon on Thursday 23rd May 2019.

The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, who said in his Bidding:

We gather here in Westminster Abbey, near to the site of the former Westminster Hospital, to celebrate the first hospital to be formed since the Reformation and the first voluntary hospital in the world.
We give thanks for the original founders and benefactors and for the constant change and development over the past three hundred years that has led to the formation of the current Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in the Fulham Road.
We pray for the continuous discovery of new and better ways of promoting health and healing and for all who suffer illness or disability of any kind.

At the start of the service, the Westminster Hospital banner, the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust banner, and a bowl of oranges were processed through the Abbey and placed on the High Altar. The oranges were symbolic of John Kelly, Westminster Hospital's first in-patient, who was cured of scurvy in 1720.

Testimonies were read by Dr Thomas Newsom-Davis, Consultant in Medical Oncology, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; and Angela Henderson, Patient Governor, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Alexander Hoare, descendant of Mr Henry Hoare, founder of Westminster Hospital, read Ecclesiasticus 38: 1–8; and Lesley Watts, Chief Executive, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, read St Luke 6: 6–10.

The Dean gave the Address.

Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett DL, Chairman, Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, read a reflection.

Prayers were led by the Reverend Christopher Stoltz, Minor Canon and Precentor, and said by: Zoe Penn, Medical Director, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Rob Hodgkiss, Chief Operating Officer; Sophia Cavill, Acute Medical Registrar; the Reverend Jane Sinclair, Canon in Residence; the Reverend Bernard Hughes, former Chaplain at St Stephen’s Hospital, St Mary Abbot’s Hospital, Westminster Hospital, and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital; and Paul Aichroth, alumnus of Westminster Medical School.

The service was sung by the Westminster Abbey Special Service Choir, directed by Peter Holder, Sub-Organist.

The organ was played by Matthew Jorysz, Assistant Organist, and before the service by Alexander Hamilton, Organ Scholar.

Ensemble Hesperi and the Singing Staff of Chelwest, directed by Jonathan Eyre, performed before the service.


Order of Service for A Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Westminster Hospital (844, PDF)

Address given at a Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the 300th anniversary of Westminster Hospital

The Shrine of St Edward the Confessor is one of the most powerful features of the Abbey. To stand in the presence of a man who is both a saint and a monarch is awe-inspiring.

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The Reverend Christopher Stoltz - Minor Canon

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