150th Anniversary Eye Ball Hailed a Huge Success

A MEMORABLE night was had by all in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Liverpool, as St Paul’s Eye Unit celebrated its 150th anniversary.

The 150th anniversary of St Paul’s was in 2021 but had to be delayed due to the pandemic, but that didn’t dampen the spirts of 150 guests that attended.

The celebratory dinner was organised to acknowledge the endeavours of the many thousands of people that have worked in St Paul’s since it was established in 1871.

From its humble beginnings, hiring two small rooms in number 6 St Paul’s Square on a Wednesday and Saturday afternoon to be used as a clinic for patients, to what it has now become, a large unit with its own outpatient and A&E departments, theatres and research centre,  St Paul’s has grown to become regarded as an international centre of excellence for the treatment and research of eye disease.

The dinner was also an opportunity to give thanks to all of St Paul’s staff for their hard work and efforts over the last challenging two years.

The evening started with one of our staff and her colleagues singing some popular operatic items, a tribute to the early days of fundraising efforts over the years such as in 1894 when an evening of opera was organised to raise funds for the hospital.

A specially chosen three course dinner was followed by entertainment provided by a live band and DJ for guests to dance the night away.

Mr Mark Batterbury, current Clinical Director of St Paul’s Eye Unit, said: “It has beenMr Mark Batterbury a long time since we were all able to get together outside of work and so everyone was looking forward to the night.

“We were not able to hold our 150th Anniversary Eye Ball in 2021, but we decided that if it was good enough for the Olympics and for the Euros to be delayed then so could our celebratory dinner, especially to ensure we kept our staff, and our patients, safe.

“It was important to us to mark the effort and dedication of St Paul’s staff past and present that has got us to where we are today. St Paul’s truly is a success story.

“The first St Paul’s Eye Ball was held in 1924 and was an opportunity for staff and friends to come together, let their hair down and have a good time. It seems more important now than ever before”, Mark continued.

“The speed that we had to change our daily working practices to tackle Covid-19 required many qualities. I am immensely proud of the way all the staff rose to that challenge – with flexibility, resilience and courage. I know these traits stem from a quality of ours that was prevalent back in 1871 and remains still the case today – a desire to deliver the very best treatment, care and support for our patients.”

Mark emphasised the family ethos of St Paul’s:  a group of people working together to look after people with eye problems.  That family has recently become even larger, as the specialist team at Aintree have come together with that at the Royal to further improve patient care, bringing together expertise that was not previously easily accessible to patients.  Staff from both units attended the 150th anniversary dinner and partied together.

The raffle was held on the night to raise funds for its charity, the St Paul’s General Purpose Fund.

Anyone interested in the history of St Paul’s can visit part of the old hospital which is incorporated into the Radisson Hotel in Old Hall Street.