Cumbrian celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the NHS have been taking place.

Around 25 different stalls filled Carlisle city centre to showcase the wide range of health services and schemes available while yesterday an open-air service was held in St Nicholas' Gardens, Whitehaven.

Covering from cradle to grave, a range of statutory health services took part in Carlisle's celebrations on Saturday.

They were joined by voluntary and support services such as hospice experts, Macmillan Cancer Support and Blood Bikes.

Physiotherapists from the Cumberland Infirmary used the event to launch an amnesty on walking aids.

Helen May, deputy head of physiotherapy at the hospital, said: "We want to remind people that we will accept their walking aids that they no longer need - things like zimmer frames, walking sticks and crutches.

"We'd urge people to bring them into reception at the hospital. It's important to give them back as they're expensive. As we all know the NHS is stretched financially and we want to ensure that every penny we have is spent on patient care."

It costs the Carlisle hospital up to £600 a week for zimmer frames to give to patients in need, she added.

Macmillan Cancer's information and advice centre team from the hospital were also out in force.

Its manager Hilary Kendal revealed that a new 'Look Good Feel Better' scheme for men will be launched in September.

It already helps around 90 women a year who have had treatment for cancer to establish good skincare and make-up routines following treatment.

Carlisle will become one of the first places in the country to offer similar sessions for men later this year.

Hilary said: "We're going to be doing a Look Good Feel Better scheme in September and we're looking for people to take part.

"It has been adapted to focus on skin care and they'll have a barber. They'll also get a goody bag at the end."

Palliative care and bereavement support services teamed up to hold a Death cafe as part of Saturday's showcase, to highlight their services.

There was a Death cafe and also a vintage bus to raise awareness of dementia.

Other stalls included maternity matters and birth services, mental health, podiatry, health visitors and community services.

Saturday's event was also promoting the range of careers within the health service.

Angela Dobson, head of nursing workforce at the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, has a nursing career stretching 28 years.

She said: "I've already managed to chat to a couple of people who want to come back into nursing.

"We need to tell people about the good opportunities locally and raise the profile of nursing as a career.

"There is a national shortage and so we are all working together and are doing more to get people interested.

"There are so many options and opportunities in nursing and often people don't hear about all the great things that are involved."

She added: "It has been lovely to see people celebrating the NHS in all of its guises and how proud they are of the NHS."

Eight-year-old Maddie Crooks, from Wigton Road, wore her homemade NHS t-shirt in a show of support.

Her mum Elaine said: "I'm a nurse and my husband John is a project manager for the NHS so Maddie knows a lot about what we do.

"She wants to be a nurse when she's older so she made the t-shirt to do the Carlisle parkrun for the NHS which took place a few weeks ago. She wanted to wear it again when we said we were going to come along here."
Maddie added: "I want to help people who are sick when I'm older, that's why I want to be a nurse."

Carlisle MP John Stevenson attended the event.

He said: "It is fantastic to see so many stalls. It is a demonstration of the importance of the health service to Carlisle and the contribution it makes to our area."

Healthcare union Unison led and funded the event.

Carlisle mental health nurse Liz Walsh, branch secretary of the Carlisle and North Lancashire branch, said: "We've got around 7,000 members and we wanted this to be a celebration of what we do.

"In the media you often see the things that go wrong so we wanted to show what is so great about the NHS and what is worth fighting for.

"We had a man from Sweden come and chat to us and he was telling us they don't have this where he lives and how we are very fortunate, and how there's nowhere else in the world like it."

Other organisations that also took part included Healthwatch, Cumbria Archive Centre, University of Cumbria, North West Ambulance Service, Carlisle City Council Walking for Health programme, Motor Neurone Disease Association and Happy Mums Foundation.