Celebrities support NHS fundraising book featuring Lancaster University researcher

Actor Simon Callow and author Stephen Fry are backing a poetry anthology for the NHS Covid-19 Emergency Fund, which includes a poem by Dr Emma Halliday of Lancaster University.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Wednesday, 13th May 2020, 2:19 pm

Actor Simon Callow has even been filmed reading Dr Halliday’s poem “Burnt Out”.

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage said of the collection, ‘Every ward and waiting room should have a copy’ while author Stephen Fry called it “a wonderful anthology to celebrate the NHS, which is itself the best poem a country has ever written.”

All proceeds from the book entitled “These are the hands – poems for the heart of the NHS” will go to the NHS Covid-19 Emergency Fund which supports over 135 official NHS Charities raising money for hospitals, ambulance services, community and mental health services across the UK.

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Emma Halliday.

Dr Halliday works at the Centre for Health Inequalities Research at the Faculty of Health and Medicine and recently completed a postgraduate qualification in creative writing.

She said: “I’m delighted to have my poem published in this unique anthology. In writing the poem, I was inspired by research highlighting the high levels of stress and burn out among doctors and medical students, and the impact on their mental health.”

Her poem ‘Burnt out’ sits alongside poems by leading UK poets including Michael Rosen, Roger McGough, Lemn Sissay, Wendy Cope and the estates of UA Fanthorpe, Dannie Abse and Julia Darling.

The anthology offers a unique insight into the real experiences of the people at the heart of the NHS – from the student nurse at the start of his career to the heart surgeon on the eve of her retirement.

There are also stories of those whose vital work is often unseen and unsung from domestic cleaning staff to sign language interpreters.

The anthology is now available online from most major book retailers or can be purchased from the publishers here

“Burnt out” by Emma Halliday

He grew skin like armour

and steered conversation

to fend off attention.

As hours started blurring;

his friendships unravelled,

relationships crumbled.

He battled the feelings,

would never acknowledge

this wasn’t his failing.

Then nights began burning;

he drained wine like coffee

to cope with the next shift.

He clipped on a work smile

and colleagues remembered

him never complaining.

When anyone queried,

he stiffened the face mask

and was always fine, thanks.