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S Club 7 star unveils new memorial bench

29 Nov 2021 12:01:59
Memorial Bench

Jo O’Meara, member of pop band S Club 7, made a surprise appearance at Rotherham Hospital on Friday 26 November to unveil a very special memorial bench. 

The bench is in memory of UECC Health Care Assistant, Adele Sheppard, a much-loved friend and colleague who sadly passed away earlier this year. Adele’s colleagues wanted to create a special space for staff to use for quiet reflection or for a moment for peace during busy shifts. The bench overlooks a green area outside the Urgent and Emergency Care Centre (UECC) and even has solar ‘tree’ lights so those on a night shift will be able to make use of it too. 

Operational and Performance Manager, Angela Knowles, was instrumental in the fundraising for the bench, and making the opening ceremony so special. She said, “Losing Adele had a big impact on the team in UECC and we wanted to do something in her honour. We had donations from colleagues throughout the Trust which allowed us to purchase the bench, plaque and lights. We are so grateful to everybody who donated. 

I also want to thank Jo for taking time out of her busy schedule for us. She has been a big supporter of The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust for a while now and it has been so nice to have her here in person.”

Angela and Health Care Assistant, Amanda Haynes, have been in contact with Jo since April 2020, when she very kindly dedicated her version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ to The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust and all NHS staff. Since then the trio have developed a close bond, so they knew just who to ask when it came to unveiling a project so close to their hearts. 

Jo was equally delighted to have been asked, saying, “It’s an honour to be here. I’m always happy to help in any way I can. Amanda and Angela reached out to me during lockdown as staff were working so hard and needed something to give them a boost. I was delighted to sing for them, and we’ve stayed friends ever since.”

Adele’s bench is now available for colleagues, patients and visitors to use.