George Cross on display in Ulster Museum
The George Cross is being put on public display in Northern Ireland.
The award was presented to the four National Health Services of the UK at a ceremony in Windsor Castle in July 2022.
It was bestowed to recognise the contribution of all health service staff, past and present.
The Cross will now be available for the public to view at the Ulster Museum in Belfast, after it was officially handed over to National Museums NI by the Department of Health.
Peter May, Permanent Secretary, said:
“The award of the George Cross is a well-deserved recognition for the courage and sacrifice of everyone who works in health and social care, and I am delighted that it will now be on display here in Northern Ireland for people to come and see.
“The medal is for everyone working across Northern Ireland’s Health and Social Care system at all levels. We will be forever indebted to them, for their commitment and expertise.
“This year marks the 75th anniversary of the NHS, and I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all members of our Health and Social Care system in Northern Ireland, for your compassion and dedication.”
Kathryn Thomson, Chief Executive of National Museums NI, said:
“We are delighted to accept this significant addition to the national collection due to the rarity and prestige associated with the George Cross medal.
“It recognises the significant contribution the NHS has made, particularly during the pandemic, and we welcome visitors to the Ulster Museum to come and see it for themselves.”
Sister Joanna Hogg, who accepted the award on behalf of colleagues at the ceremony in Windsor Castle alongside Mr May. In December 2020, Sister Hogg became the first person in Northern Ireland to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. She is currently Lead Nurse for Trauma & Orthopaedics with the Belfast Trust. She said:
“It was a wonderful opportunity to accept the George Cross medal on behalf of all of Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland, and to recognise the incredible dedication of all our colleagues within Health and Social Care.”
The medal will be displayed from today in Pandemics Past and Present, which is located within the Modern History gallery at the Ulster Museum.
Entry is free.
The award to the four health services marks only the third occasion on which the George Cross has been presented to a collective body, country or organisation, rather than an individual.