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Children’s Laureate marks NHS 60th anniversary at Museum of Childhood

PUBLISHED: 23:21 04 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:52 05 October 2010

Rosen interviewed by children from Haggerston School for the BBC

Rosen interviewed by children from Haggerston School for the BBC

SOME of Britain’s top illustrators teamed up with Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen to provide an artistic contribution to mark today’s 60th anniversary of the NHS. Rosen was in the East End for the premier’ of his specially-commissioned poem at London’s Museum of Childhood

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SOME of Britain’s top illustrators teamed up with Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen to provide an artistic contribution to mark today’s 60th anniversary of the NHS.

Rosen was in the East End for the premier’ of his specially-commissioned poem These Are the Hands at London’s Museum of Childhood.

The best loved children’s illustrators such as Helen Oxenbury, Tony Ross, Ed Vere, Axel Scheffler and Nick Sharratt each provided their own visual interpretation of his poem.

Health Minister Ann Keen spoke at the launch about her personal attachment to the Heath Service.

“I was born in the NHS,” she said. “As a former children’s nurse, the NHS means something special to me. The 60th anniversary demonstrates what a special place the NHS holds in our hearts.”

Rosen admits he “just missed” being born into the NHS as the 62-year-old poet turned up in the world in 1946.

“But I can remember when I was very young my parents talked of the NHS as something precious,” he recalled. “It had been won after years of campaigning.”

Then he revealed: “The NHS has mended my nose (from a cricket ball!), put my pelvis back together (from a car crash), and discovered I had a chronic illness (an under-active thyroid). Since then, I’ve had free prescriptions.”

The NHS brought his five children into the world, saved the lives of two of them, and gently nursed his parents through to the end, he added.

Mingling among the VIPs at the museum in Bethnal Green were children from Haggerston School who interviewed Rosen for the BBC’s Schools Report.

Broadcaster Dan Snow was there, describing the NHS created in 1948 as “one of the greatest achievements of the 20th Century.”


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