A PALLIATIVE care nurse from the Scottish Borders is starring alongside Monty Python legend Michael Palin and England footballer Jordan Henderson in a new exhibition from Rankin and NHS Charities Together, celebrating 75 years of NHS charities.

Caroline Hogg, 36, from Galashiels, is one of 14 NHS staff, patients and volunteers starring in ‘Love and Charity: A History of Giving in the NHS’– which celebrates the vital role charities have played throughout the health service’s history, ahead of the NHS’ 75th anniversary on 5 July. Led by NHS Charities Together, the national charity caring for the NHS, and internationally renowned photographer Rankin, all portraits will be displayed at Saatchi gallery in London from May 31 - June 11.

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Caroline, who has been working as a Staff Nurse at the Margaret Kerr palliative care unit in the Scottish Borders since it first opened in 2013, has seen first-hand the difference charitable giving can make. The unit – which boasts eight rooms with spaces and gardens for patients, families, carers and friends – was only built thanks to a generous legacy from former Edinburgh City Hospital nurse Miss Margaret Kerr.

Caroline said: “The Margaret Kerr Unit is an excellent facility for the people of the Borders. When patients are admitted they often express a sense of calm, and it is truly a privilege to work in such a special place. The staff and community pulled together to make it happen following this amazing legacy, and because of this we can go above and beyond for patients experiencing the most distressing circumstances. We have arranged weddings, parties, and family gatherings, and it’s always so special. You can see it means the world to them, and none of it would be possible if it wasn’t for charitable donations.”

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Like Caroline, nurse Margaret Kerr devoted her life to looking after people and her caring did not stop with her passing in March 2009, as Kerr left £720,000 in her will to help build the new specialist palliative care unit. The Difference charity, which supports NHS Borders, rallied the public to help raise the final million pounds required.

There are over 230 NHS charities in the UK, and together they help our health service go further than would be possible with government funding alone. They fund innovative research and pioneering new technologies, accommodation and support to make hospital feel less like hospital, and extra services so more of us can access better care.

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Rankin, who has photographed the likes of the Queen, David Bowie, Madonna and Kate Moss, adds: “The thing I’ve learned from all these people is how much of a massive contribution NHS charities make to the national health service. You don’t realise the scale of support that’s out there – they fund research and new technologies, accommodation and support for patients, and extra services so more of us can access better care. I used to work in the NHS but honestly had no idea, and it really has been eye opening.”

Ellie Orton OBE, Chief Executive at NHS Charities Together, said: “It’s been incredibly inspiring meeting Caroline, and hearing her story. 75 years after the NHS was founded, charity support has never been more important, and with your help we can continue to help the NHS for generations to come. On 5 July, you can support the charity that means the most to you and celebrate 75 years of the NHS by hosting an NHS Big Tea party. We hope some of these stories show the astonishing impact one person’s generosity can have.”

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Karen Wilson, Fundraising Manager at The Difference charity, said: “Our colleagues who work in the palliative care service across NHS Borders make a huge difference to peoples lives. It is incredible to think that, ten years on from the fundraising appeal to raise the final million pounds for the Margaret Kerr Unit, people are still donating to the facility and the wider service. Margaret Kerr was a very special lady and we are honoured to keep her legacy alive with our involvement in the Love and Charity exhibition.”

‘Love and Charity: A History of Giving in the NHS’ will be exhibited at the Saatchi gallery in London from May 31 – June 11 2023 and is free to the public.