The NHS has been awarded the “longest residency” at London’s The O2 arena, after the venue has spent the last 44 days operating as a training facility for NHS staff.
The O2 was converted into an NHS training facility in April to supply temporary staff to the Nightingale emergency hospitals set up around the UK. It has now been wound down, and will no longer serve as a training facility.
The “residency” has exceeded that of Prince, Michael Jackson and Take That, who all previously held the title.
The milestone was commemorated with a piece by British illustrator and artist Madeleine Floyd. It features a nightingale with rainbow-coloured wings, and was signed by the NHS education team at The O2.
While the venue currently remains closed to the public, plans are underway to start a phased re-opening of parts of it this summer.
The framed piece now hangs in the backstage area alongside signed imagery of the artists, comedians and sport stars who have played the venue
Danielle Kennedy-Clark, Deputy General Manager, The O2 said: “We’ve hosted some real heroes during these past few weeks and it has been a privilege for AEG, along with our partner O2, to have been able to play our part during these challenging times. This has been our most important residency to date and we’re grateful to the team for this special piece of artwork to remind us of such a poignant time.”
Mark Evans, CEO, O2 said: “We’re proud through our partnership with AEG to have been able to support the fantastic work of NHS with the training facility at The O2 arena. We continue to work hard to keep the nation connected, and remain committed to supporting customers, key workers and the NHS with the network and support they need during these unprecedented times.”
While the venue currently remains closed to the public, plans are underway to start a phased re-opening of parts of it this summer, with Icon Outlet (The O2’s outlet retail destination comprising over with 60 brands) and Up at The O2 planned as the initial stages.
All 120 of the NHS education team who ran the training facility are being invited back to The O2 to climb the venues attraction, Up at The O2, on the famous tented roof top, when it reopens in July.