Celebrating the Coronation on The Mall and with memories

King Charles is nearly as old as the NHS being born in the November following the service’s founding in 1948 – and two colleagues at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals will remember his Coronation this weekend for very different reasons.

Sonia Khan, lead pharmacist in the Trust’s Community Frailty Service is a delighted and very surprised winner of tickets to the King’s Coronation Procession.

She entered the NHS England ballot some time ago, joking to her family “I never win anything” before returning from leave to find the winner’s email awaiting her.

Sonia who will be taking up her place on The Mall with sister-in-law, Sara, says she is most looking forward to seeing the Royal Family in person, the atmosphere and being part of history.

She explained: “I’ve never been someone who goes to concerts or big events – I’m so excited that I’ll get to be a part of it.”

Meanwhile, another colleague at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals has told of the “poignant” moment she received her OBE from King Charles III.

Dr Sharran Grey, Haematology Consultant Clinical Scientist, received her OBE from the then Prince of Wales in February last year. She received the honour after being recognised for services to blood transfusion and patient care.

She had been recognised in the 2021 New Year’s Honours List but was unable to receive the OBE until a year later due to COVID restrictions. She attended a ceremony at Windsor Castle accompanied by her family including her husband, Dr Mark Grey, also a Consultant Haematologist.

Reflecting on the day, Dr Grey said: “You can’t really believe it, it’s such an unusual experience and was a really lovely day.

“Because the Queen had stepped back from some duties I didn’t know who I would be receiving the honour from, whether it might be the then Prince Charles, or perhaps William or Princess Anne. It’s very poignant thinking about it now that six months later the Queen had sadly died and Charles would become King.

“Because of the COVID restrictions, I was only allowed to take my husband with me into Windsor Castle because they had cut back on the number of guests allowed. My family came with me on the trip which was lovely, but it was such a shame everyone couldn’t experience the ceremony – it was absolutely amazing with an orchestra playing and such wonderful surroundings.

“It’s a day I’ll never forget.”

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