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Black Country hospital trust holds celebration event to mark Vaisakhi

It was a time to come together and celebrate the birth of Sikhism with food, prayer and festivities.

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Staff and patients joined in colourful celebrations to mark Vaisakhi at Walsall Manor and New Cross Hospitals.

The event, which celebrates the birth of Sikhism in 1699, was observed at both sites this week.

Several businesses and faith groups joined in with the festivities, making the day special by serving tasty treats including samosas and pakoras.

Catherine Wilson, deputy chief nursing officer at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT), welcomed staff at New Cross Hospital to a dedicated event held in the Emergency Department marquee.

She said: “We’re extremely grateful to all those who gathered together to help the trust mark the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi.

"I hope all staff, patients and partners were able to celebrate with loved ones.

“I want to wish Sikhs across the trust, and our local communities, a very happy Vaisakhi.

"A special thank you to Guru Nanak Gurdwara and Nanaksar Thath Isher Darbar Gurdwara for helping out at the event at New Cross Hospital."

Will Roberts, director of operations and deputy chief operating officer, and Clair Bond, interim director of HR at Walsall Healthcare, kick-started the festivities at a similar event held in the main atrium at Walsall Manor Hospital.

The celebration saw food provided by members of the Sikh community

“Vaisakhi itself is about freedom, family and fun,” Will said. “Here we have an opportunity to mark its significance, and to reflect on the contribution of Sikhs to both the community and to our wider organisation.

“A big thank you to the chaplaincy team, and to all the local faith and community groups for your support and for supplying tasty treats.”

Prayers were led by Shyam Singh, Sikh chaplain, Reverend Anthony Swaby, Anglican chaplain, and Joe Fielder, team lead for chaplaincy and spiritual care.

Bally Kaur, housekeeping supervisor for hotel services at RWT, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to celebrate Vaisakhi while at work.

"The food is delicious and we’re just so thankful to all involved.”

Jagjeet Singh Kang, porter at RWT, remarked on the “incredible effort” that had gone into arranging the event.

At Walsall, Kaz Kaur, Macmillan Cancer Information Hub manager, said: “It’s wonderful that all temples can get together and provide food for us here at the hospital.

"The support is great and it makes me happy to get all different groups of people together to celebrate.”

Dawn Taylor, sister on Ward 10 at Walsall Manor Hospital, added: “It’s really kind and good-spirited of chaplaincy and partners to mark important occasions such as this, and as staff we really appreciate the local community joining in and getting involved as well.”