The Jenny Lind playground at NNUH

The Jenny Lind Children’s Hospital will mark its 164th birthday this week with a fun day to celebrate the occasion.

Norwich was the second city in the country to have a children’s hospital, opening two years after London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children which opened in 1852.

The hospital, part of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals (NNUH), continues to care for thousands of sick children every year.

NNUH Fundraising Manager Louise Cook said: “As part of the NHS 70th birthday celebrations this year, we thought it would be a lovely idea to celebrate the birthday of the children’s hospital with our first Jenny Lind Day which we hope to continue in future years.

“The hospital is close to the hearts of many people in Norfolk and we have lots of fundraisers who choose the Jenny Lind Children’s Hospital for their donations which in recent years have helped fund the children’s playground, virtual reality TV and games, a sensory room and many more items.

“We thought this would be a great way to say thank you to all the staff and to those who have helped support the hospital over the years.”

The Norwich infirmary for sick children admitted its first inpatients on 3 April 1854 thanks to the generosity and goodwill of Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind.

Jenny Lind, dubbed the “Swedish Nightingale”, was one of the best known and most popular entertainers in mid-19th century Europe – her character recently featured in the hit film ‘The Greatest Showman’ starring Hugh Jackman.

In 1847 she gave her first concerts in Norwich and they proved so popular that a third concert was arranged.

The money raised from the Jenny Lind concerts were earmarked for the purpose of an infirmary for sick children. A public meeting in 1853 unanimously endorsed the idea and in 1854 the hospital opened in Pottergate, Norwich.

Mrs Cook said: “People are often surprised at the history of the hospital and the origins of the name so we are really excited at this first Jenny Lind Day.

“We would like to thank everyone who has helped out, including Dazzlings Cakes and Brays Cottage who have very kindly provided special sweet and savory cakes to help staff and patients celebrate the day and to Biddys Tea room for a lovely raffle prize.

“Do pop in and say hello to us at our stand in West Outpatients Level 2 from 10am -3pm.”

Additionally we are asking the schools of Norfolk to hold a non uniform day to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS and raise money for our Jenny Lind Children’s Hospital. We are asking children to help children and help celebrate the amazing work of our hospital every year’.

For more information about our events and how you can help, please contact fundraising@nnuh.nhs.uk