NHS staff have been treated to an ice skating session as a thank you for their hard work.

The staff from the University Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were the first to take to the ice as the rink outside Brighton’s Royal Pavilion opened to the public.

More than 400 NHS staff members as well as their friends and family enjoyed the session on Friday, October 28, ahead of the rink’s official opening the day after.

Steve Crump, director of charities at the NHS Trust, said: “The Royal Pavilion Ice Rink has a magical quality about it, especially when illuminated at night.

“This was a real treat for our hardworking and dedicated staff who go above and beyond for patients in their care every day.”

Guy Hannell, area director for sponsors Morgan Sindall Construction Southern Home Counties, added: “Everyone, no matter who, is touched by the NHS in some way throughout their lives and Morgan Sindall Construction is so proud to be able to help enhance the facilities of University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust by designing and constructing healthcare buildings.”

The event was run as a thank you to staff for all their hard work in the last few years, including across the Covid-19 pandemic. The NHS is set to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2023.

The Argus: NHS staff were given the thank you shortly before the rink opened to the publicNHS staff were given the thank you shortly before the rink opened to the public (Image: Annabel King Photography)

Dr George Findlay, Chief Executive of University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This was a really special event and a great way to thank our colleagues and volunteers for the hard work they do to put our patients first, and for the incredible effort staff have gone to over the past couple of years to support our communities through the pandemic."

The Brighton Pavilion ice rink has proved popular in recent years with skaters taking to the ice in-front of the illuminated building.

The rink, which opened at 10am on Saturday, October 29, has already seen skaters doing laps of the ice while others opt to keep warm in the café.

Skaters can enjoy the rink throughout the festive period, with the ice closing on January 8.