Lesley Brady helped celebrate in song with Seventies film and pop heartthrob David Essex when the NHS had a big birthday 25 years ago.
At the time, Lesley, who joined the haematology team at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals as an audiotypist four years ago, was known as the “singing medical secretary” at Royal Oldham Hospital.
“Having sent many a consultant on their happy way to retirement with a song, I was obviously delighted and honoured to be asked,” she said.
The NHS 50th anniversary gala show at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in London, was organised by the Royal College of Midwives and Lesley Lee as she was then appeared with an NHS choir for the final number, Spread a Little Happiness.
“One of my memories of that night was David Essex praising the NHS as he had experienced the US following an accident to his daughter and he said we had the greatest health system in the world.
“As I am now in my 34th year of working for the NHS, it is still a memory I will treasure for ever and I'm still proud of our NHS despite all the problems we have incurred in the last few years.”
Lesley started singing around the age of 30, having always enjoyed it but never having had the confidence to perform. She got her break while helping a friend at a club. No one was coming up to sing so he asked her to step in. Someone who booked acts on the Manchester club circuit heard her and a semi-professional singing career was born.
Her other claim to fame was singing with the Irish boy band Westlife. Her initial audition was down the phone but she made a shortlist of 120 from a list of 11,000 hopefuls.
“They wanted to do a swing number and needed someone older to sing with them,” said Lesley. “I didn’t get the job but the whole thing was filmed and they were absolutely brilliant.”
Lesley’s singing took a backseat for a number of years but she recently got a coach who’s taking her to new places vocally.
She sings regularly at The Top Club in Cleveleys and is part of her coach’s The Hope Choir in Blackpool. They plan to go singing in local care homes over the summer.
… now share your NHS75 story
We’re counting down the 75 days to the 75th anniversary of the founding of the NHS on 5 July – and Trust colleagues, patients and the local community can all take part.
We also want to hear what you love about the NHS as well as your stories and memories – and thank you to everyone who has been in touch so far.
- How has the NHS changed you or your family’s life for the better?
- Do you have pictures of times past at our hospitals and sites you’d like to share?
- Did you have family or friends who were with the NHS at its start in 1948?
- What inspired you to work in the NHS?
- Tell us if you are just one of many generations to work in the NHS
Share your ideas and memories by visiting the My Story section on our NHS75 web pages.