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Mining heritage celebrated in new-look hospital restaurant

Friday, 04 July, 2014
Mining heritage celebrated in new-look hospital restaurant

Ian Lavery MP has today (Friday 21 February) opened the new-look restaurant at Wansbeck General Hospital which celebrates the area’s mining heritage.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has completely refurbished the restaurant to provide a modern, bright space for members of the public, patients, visitors and staff.

The facility has been renamed ‘Woodhorn Restaurant’ after the former colliery which is only a few miles away from the hospital.

In keeping with the mining theme, prints from the acclaimed ‘Pitmen Painters’ are on display in the restaurant, which is open every day.

The restaurant, located on the first floor, near to the main entrance, now includes a greater variety of hot and cold food and drinks, including a self-service salad bar and more healthy options.

Mr Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, said: “I am delighted to open the refurbished restaurant at Wansbeck General Hospital which provides a pleasant environment for anyone wanting to have a cup of tea or a bite to eat.

“It’s so important to have somewhere in a hospital where people can come to spend time away from a busy ward or clinic whether they are a patient, visiting someone in hospital, accompanying a friend or relative to an appointment, or even a member of the public.

“Mining has such a strong connection to this area and I am so pleased that our heritage is being remembered and showcased in this way. It’s also a nice touch and link to the past for the many former miners who now work in the hospital.”

The trust ran a competition for staff to come up with a name for the restaurant. Two employees – Arlene Pattem, community infection control nurse, and Susan Baxter, operational services manager for surgery – came up with ‘Woodhorn Restaurant’.

Owen Cusack, deputy director of estates and facilities at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Our restaurants are very important to our hospitals and as part of our continuous investment we are keen to make them as welcoming as possible.

“As a trust, we are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of our staff, patients and visitors and making available more healthy options in our restaurants as part of providing a wide choice of high quality drinks and food.

“It is fitting that we celebrate our mining heritage through art which we use extensively to improve our hospital environment for everybody.”

The restaurant serves snacks and meals from 8.30am to 4.30pm every day.

The ‘Pitmen Painters’ – officially the Ashington Group – were a group of men, most of them miners, who started painting in 1934. Over the next 50 years, they produced hundreds of paintings showing what life was like both above and below ground.

The paintings can be seen at Woodhorn Museum, Archive and Country Park.