A 91-year old patient has found an imaginative way to say ‘thank you’ to Royal Free Hospital staff … by creating two signature ‘Royal Free’ perfumes for staff to spritz themselves with.

John Bailey had a seven-and-a-half-hour operation, under a spinal anaesthetic (similar to an epidural) to promote skin regeneration, after a fall in the snow earlier in the year left him with a wound that was not healing.

Keen to thank staff, Mr Bailey, an artisan perfumer from Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, decided to do something unique.

Mr Bailey said: “Everyone from Professor Ash Mosahebi and his team who operated on me, to the ward staff on 5 North A couldn’t have been more professional, caring and kind. I really enjoyed their interest in my lifelong professional career in the business of scents and aromas, so I decided to say thank you by creating some unique scents for staff on the ward which looked after me.”

Artisan perfumer John Bailey devised an unusual gift for staff

Mike Faria, a healthcare assistant who has worked at the hospital for 10 years, became friendly with Mr Bailey during his stay on the ward. He said: “We sometimes get cards or a box of chocolates from patients who want to express their thanks but this is the first time anyone has done anything like this!

“When I met Mr Bailey I couldn’t help noticing he had the best smelling area of the ward. We got chatting and it was fascinating to learn about his work. He made a huge impression and we were definitely intrigued.”

Azar Karkhaneh, a junior sister who also looked after Mr Bailey, said: “The perfumes smell great – it’s been a lovely boost for staff.”

Mr Bailey created Royal Cologne which he describes as ‘fresh, with many captivating zingy citrus notes, very therapeutic, incorporating a skin moisturiser for enhanced longevity whenever worn’.

He also created an eau de parfum which he named Royal Scent. 

Mr Bailey said: “It has a beautiful floral theme with many rare aromatic essences from all over the world, sourced through my associates in Grasse, in France. It’s elegant, classy and sophisticated.” 

Mr Bailey added: “I think I’m unusual not just because of my quirky gift but also because I was able to go home so quickly, which is virtually unheard of, especially at my age. I think I impressed everyone!”

(Main image L-R: Mike Faria, healthcare assistant and Azar Karkhaneh, junior sister ... enjoying a spritz)