A replica of a special badge, devised by one of the founders of Shropshire’s specialist orthopaedic hospital and awarded to Nursing and Physiotherapy students until the late 1960s, has been unveiled to staff and retired Nurses and Physiotherapists.

 The model 3-foot high badge, that was awarded to all students completing a five year combined Nursing and Physiotherapy training programme at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH), was started up by one of the hospital’s founders Dame Agnes Hunt.

The badge was awarded from 1944 to 1969, after which Dame Agnes’ training school merged with North Staffs Royal Infirmary and a new pin was created.

Current serving staff members and a number of retired Nurses and Physiotherapists, who were awarded the badge, gathered to mark the unveiling of the replica, which is located within the hospital’s Physiotherapy department, near to the reception desk.

The idea to create and display the replica badge was the brainchild of retired Physiotherapist, Gill Cripps, who led the hospital’s Disabled Swimming Club for almost 30 years.

Gill, as well as her friends and former colleagues, who were members of the Old Oswestrians’ Physiotherapists Association (OOPA) have organised and funded the badge, with support from the hospital’s League of Friends.

Gill said: “Being one of the lucky ones that was awarded the prestigious Dame Agnes badge, I feel an enormous sense of pride around my links to the hospital’s founder, as I know my former colleagues and friends feel too.

“We felt that having a replica of the badge is not only a brilliant way to commemorate Dame Agnes Hunt and her training programme but it was also a good way to showcase mine and my former, retired colleagues’ links with this very special hospital.

“I’d like to thank my OOPA friends for their support, particularly in raising the funds needed for this. Thanks must also go to the League of Friends for their support of this idea. I really didn’t expect it to get the support it has done.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my good friend, Don Kent. Don really helped me bring this idea to life.”

The badge was created by Chris Bladon, who designed the metal work, while Shropshire-based firm, The Signtists worked on the finish of the badge.

Philip Hulse, Therapy Service Manager at RJAH, said: “So much about this hospital is based around its unique heritage and that fills us staff members with an immense sense of pride, around what’s been achieved before us and I think that gives us hope and an expectation about the future of this wonderful hospital.”

Mrs Anna Turner JP, Shropshire Lord-Lieutenant, who has recently joined the hospital’s League of Friends as their Patron, was also at the unveiling event, in her first official duty, working with the charity.

Victoria Sugden, Charity Director of the League of Friends, added: “We were absolutely delighted when we were approached by Gill about this fantastic way of celebrating Dame Agnes Hunt’s training programme and those who were awarded the badge.

“It’s a special part of the hospital’s history, which has had a lasting impact on those who received the badge, many of whom are League of Friends volunteers at the hospital, despite retiring many years ago.”

Pictured: From left, Rachel Lindop, Physiotherapist; retired Physiotherapist and volunteer, Gill Cripps; Mrs Anna Turner JP, Shropshire Lord-Lieutenant; and Mark Brandreth, Chief Executive at RJAH.