Northampton hospital names new wards to honour town war hero and its first matron

Walter Tull will name one of the new wards at NGH. A new Emergency Assessment Unit is also under construction and should open at the end of summer 2018.
Walter Tull will name one of the new wards at NGH. A new Emergency Assessment Unit is also under construction and should open at the end of summer 2018.

A Cobblers player who became the first black British Army officer will give his name to a new ward at Northampton General Hospital.

The new Walter Tull Ward will be named in honour of the footballer who played for Northampton Town Football Club in 1911 before serving in the First World War.

The other ward will be named after NGH's first matron, Esther White. Both wards will be housed in the new emergency assessment building, which is currently being constructed, and the hospital said it will be named after the founder of the NHS, Anuerin "Nye" Bevan.

Deputy chief executive Deborah Needham said: "It’s an honour and a privilege to pay tribute to footballer and war hero Walter Tull and play our part in having his contribution to British society and culture more widely recognised.

"We’re delighted to commemorate 275 years of nursing care in Northampton by naming a ward after our first matron, Esther White.

"The history of the NHS is inseparable from the history of immigration and when we celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS, we celebrate the diversity of our workforce."

It comes ahead of the completion of the new £12million Emergency Assessment Unit, which is scheduled to open by the end of summer.

It will be used to assess patients arriving from A&E and is meant to help take pressure off the emergency department.

Esther White Ward began working at the hospital in 1743 and 'her' ward will be the first at NGH to be named after a woman.

Northampton Town Football Club Chairman Kelvin Thomas said: "I think this is a wonderful tribute. Walter was an inspiration to many and it is a great honour for his memory to have one of the new wards at Northampton General Hospital named after him."