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Meet the nurses whose recipe book has raised £10,000 in memory of their much-missed colleague Dr John Hinds

A group of nurses from Craigavon Area Hospital has put together a recipe book to raise funds for the Air Ambulance NI in memory of their much-loved colleague, flying doctor John Hinds. Here, they talk to Stephanie Bell.


Heartfelt tribute: from left, Susan England, Jackie McKeown, Siobhan McArdle, Pamela Johnston, Claire Nicholl and Christine Taylor with the cookbook they created in memory of John Hinds

Heartfelt tribute: from left, Susan England, Jackie McKeown, Siobhan McArdle, Pamela Johnston, Claire Nicholl and Christine Taylor with the cookbook they created in memory of John Hinds

John Hinds

John Hinds


Heartfelt tribute: from left, Susan England, Jackie McKeown, Siobhan McArdle, Pamela Johnston, Claire Nicholl and Christine Taylor with the cookbook they created in memory of John Hinds

A team of local nurses has paid tribute to late colleague Dr John Hinds by raising thousands to support the air ambulance service he so passionately campaigned for before his tragic death.

In a moving series of interviews, the team that worked closely with the doctor reveal just how passionate and dedicated he was to improving trauma services for everyone in Northern Ireland.

Dr Hinds (35) was known as one of the flying doctors of motorbike road racing. He tragically died in a motorcycle crash while providing volunteer medical cover at the Skerries 100 race in Dublin in July 2015.

Before his death, he had been a vocal advocate for a medical helicopter for Northern Ireland and had lobbied Stormont.

The Government finally announced funding for the service which, fittingly, was given the Delta 7 call sign used by Dr Hinds.

Details were unveiled on what would have been Dr Hinds' 36th birthday, in March 2016, at his place of work, Craigavon Area Hospital, where he was a consultant anaesthetist and intensive care consultant.

Since it took to the skies in July 2017, the air ambulance has attended more than 570 calls, providing vital and life-saving medical aid on the spot, just as John Hinds did for the motorcycle world.

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Run as a charity, it takes £2m a year to keep the service aloft and, for John's devastated colleagues, supporting it has been the best way they could express their grief and admiration for the colleague whose death stunned them all.


John Hinds

John Hinds

John Hinds


While John quietly went about saving lives, not just in hospital but at motorcycle races across Northern Ireland, his colleagues reveal that at work he was also an innovator, mentoring and tutoring theatre staff to improve standards of care. Now, a year of fundraising by a team of seven of his theatre colleagues has just culminated in the launch of a recipe book, which flew out of local shops where it was on sale over Christmas.

The book, called The NHS Heroes Family Favourite Recipes, almost sold out its first print run of 1,500 in a matter of weeks, and the delighted team at Craigavon Area Hospital are now set to print another 1,000 copies to meet demand.

Theatre manager at Craigavon Pamela Johnson (52) revealed why she and her team have dedicated the last year to raising what currently stands at around £10,000 in memory of their late colleague.

Pamela, who has been nursing for 30 years, has a partner, Kevin Magee (47), a physics teacher, and lives in Dollingstown.

Working in theatre and dealing with very challenging and traumatic injuries bonds the entire team.

And while she and all of her colleagues are incredibly passionate about their work, Pamela says John stood out for going the extra mile.

"John was a fantastic colleague, a great inspiration to us all and we have all felt his loss greatly," Pamela says. "To us he was pivotal in getting the air ambulance service off the ground in Northern Ireland.

"He was also a very modest person. He would have done things behind the scenes, pushing forward in a modest way.

"He talked about the air ambulance among his colleagues. It was never about himself, but always about the service, other people and his patients, and how we could get a better trauma service in Northern Ireland.

"John really has lived on in our hearts. The day he died is one we will never, ever forget.

"It is such a shock that he is no longer with us and an awful tragedy for us.

"He was one of those inspiring individuals who left a mark on our lives."

There is no doubt that the air ambulance is seen as John's legacy, but colleagues revealed how he has also left his mark in the hospital. An innovator, he was passionate about ensuring medical trauma standards were the best they could possibly be.

He introduced training for theatre staff, recreating potential real-life trauma scenarios so that medics could practice how best to provide treatment. That work continues to this day.

Sister Siobhan McArdle (54), from Banbridge, who has worked at Craigavon hospital for 30 years, explains how John impacted on her work and that of her colleagues.

"A lot of our patients have used the air ambulance, and we've had two patients brought in by it since we launched the cookery book at the end of November," she begins.

"There is no doubt it is saving lives. John was a quiet gentleman and very unassuming.

"He was a great mentor for all of us, as well as for new staff coming in.

"He organised a lot of training days and created emergency trauma scenarios to help with staff training.

"He held simulation workshops to help staff be better prepared to deal with all situations. He was so passionate about it.

"A lot of what John introduced, we have carried on. He left us that legacy.

"In work he was a very approachable person - you could have asked him anything."

Another colleague who has been helping with the recipe book and fundraising, Christine Taylor (59), who is the goods and services officer at the hospital, also worked with John in the theatre.

Christine played a huge part in developing the cookbook by persuading many of the companies who supply the hospital to sponsor a page.

The team secured sponsorship for all 118 pages of recipes, which were contributed by staff and which are all tried and tested family favourites. "I have access to companies, so I approached them about sponsorship, and the majority were very keen to get involved in the book. That helped raise funds to cover the costs of printing," Christine says.

"Many local businesses throughout the Craigavon and Banbridge area also supported us. Many were happy to take the books to sell in their shops.

"We are thrilled that there are only about 60 copies of the book left from the first print run. We can't believe how quickly it sold.

"Even though he was unassuming, everyone knew about John, and the support we've had has been amazing.

"I was on holiday when news of his death came through. I was just numb. I could not believe what I was hearing.

"I think what John did in helping to get an air ambulance for Northern Ireland is absolutely fantastic.

"None of us know when we might need it. We are just so happy that people have been so supportive of our fundraising."

The recipes include everything from starters to traybakes, main courses and desserts.

Pamela says: "We are all very proud of the work that John has done. He was such an inspiration and, even as I talk about him now, I feel that sense of pride. He was a calming presence in the team, and the contribution that he made to our service has made it a much better service for everyone.

"We are very privileged and proud to have worked with him and his partner, Dr Janet Acheson."

The ladies' fundraising efforts have so far raised more than £10,000.

While their efforts were meant to run in 2018 only, the medics will continue to do what they can to support the air ambulance.

This doctor and paramedic service, which is based at the former Maze prison, benefits those whose lives are at serious risk following a major injury or trauma, effectively bringing emergency hospital care direct to the casualty.

The province-wide service operates seven days a week for 12 hours a day, and the ambulance can anywhere in Northern Ireland in around 25 minutes.

Before the start of operations in July 2017, Northern Ireland was the only part of the UK without an emergency helicopter service.

The speed of the service is improving outcomes and saving lives, and it is used on average at least once every day.

It works in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, which provides the medical teams on board the helicopter.

One of the very first missions of the service was to provide emergency care for an 11-year-old boy from Co Down.

The child was injured in a farm vehicle accident, and after being treated at the site of the incident was flown to Belfast in a fraction of the time it would have taken by road.

The recipe book costs £10 and is available from local shops in the Armagh, Craigavon and Banbridge areas, as well as in the Craigavon Area Hospital shop. If you would like to donate, organise an event or could spare some time volunteering, please contact Air Ambulance NI by email at info@airambulanceni.org or phone 028 9262 2677.

Recipes from the NHS heroes’ cookbook

Roast carrot, tomato and ginger soup by Joy Miller, retired theatre nurse

What you'll need:

1¼ lb carrots

8oz shallots (or onions), peeled and halved

1 red chilli, seeds removed and cut into 3 pieces

2 cloves of garlic, peeled

2 pints of vegetable stock

Ginger, peeled and grated

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

Black pepper and salt to season to taste


Preheat oven to 180°C-200°C.

Put peeled and sliced carrots, shallots, garlic and chilli into a cooking tin with olive oil and mix well.

Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until nicely caramelised.

Transfer to a heavy base saucepan, add stock, ginger, tinned tomatoes and squeeze the puree from the garlic.

Bring to the boil, simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Cool slightly before blending in the food processor or with a stick blender.

Cool completely if you want to freeze the soup.

Otherwise, reheat and garnish with toasted almonds and chopped parsley.

Serve with buttered wheaten or crusty bread.

Another serving option would be a swirl of fresh single cream.

Baked wild brown trout with baby boiled potatoes, asparagus tips and lemon mayonnaise by Dr Stephen Mulvany, consultant anaesthetist

What you'll need:

Whole brown trout, cleaned out, topped and tailed (rainbow trout or salmon from the fish counter serves as a substitute)

1 lemon

1 knob of butter

A handful of fennel or crushed fennel seeds (some use dill)

2 cloves of garlic (can use garlic paste)

1 tbsp Hellman's mayonnaise per portion

Asparagus tips

Baby boiled potatoes (microwavable)


Place the fish on some lightly buttered foil, adding a few slices of lemon, the herbs, garlic and small knob of butter to inside the cavity of the fish.

Season the fish with salt and pepper.

Wrap the trout in foil, forming a little parcel.

Place in a pre-heated oven for around 25 minutes.

Shallow-fry asparagus tips in olive oil with a pinch of salt.

Cook the baby boiled potatoes in microwave.

Heat serving plates.

Add juice of half a lemon to portion of mayonnaise and stir in.

Remove fish from oven and open foil.

Use a bread knife to peel back skin and carefully remove one side of trout from the backbone.

Discard backbone and baked herbs.

Remove other side of trout from foil.

Serve the flesh of the trout with potatoes, asparagus tips and a dollop of mayonnaise.

Waffle berry pudding by Ruth Wright, theatre staff nurse

What you'll need:

2 packets 240g waffles

150g white chocolate

300g raspberries

55g caster sugar

1 tbsp plain flour

500ml sour cream

3 eggs

½ tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp icing sugar


Preheat oven to 200°C.

Cut waffles into 1-inch squares. Put into a dish and add ½ chopped white chocolate, ½ raspberries over top. Repeat this.

Combine caster sugar, flour and sour cream, eggs and vanilla extract and pour over waffles.

Cook for 35 minutes.

Dust icing sugar over top and serve.

Lemon drizzle cake by Leanne Sawey, theatre staff nurse

What you'll need:

2 small unwaxed lemons

175g/6oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

200g/7oz self-raising flour

½tsp baking powder

3 large free-range eggs

275g/10oz granulated sugar


Preheat oven at 180°C/gas 4.

Line a 2lb loaf tin with butter and baking paper.

Grate lemon zest.

Put butter, flour, baking powder, eggs, lemon zest and 6oz of sugar in a food processor and blend until thick and smooth.

Spoon batter into tin and level the surface.

Bake for 35 minutes, until well risen and pale golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool in the tin for 5 minutes.

Squeeze 1 lemon and mix 3 tbsp of the juice with the remaining 3 ½ oz sugar.

Place cake onto wire rack and turn the right way up.

Make 50-60 deep holes in the cake using a skewer.

Spoon over half the lemon sugar, allowing it to coat the cake and drizzle down the sides.

Let it stand for 5 minutes, then do the same with the remaining lemon sugar.

Leave to set for 1 hour or until the icing has crystallised.

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