Published Thursday, 02 July 2020
The NHS celebrates its 72nd anniversary this weekend, and the Lord Mayor of Coventry has called on people around the city to join a nationwide ‘thank you’ to our doctors, nurses and all our key workers and volunteers.
The NHS has been helping to keep people healthy since 5 July 1948, when it was launched by Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan.
In recent weeks, it has been at the forefront of the country’s efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic, with health staff praised for their bravery in continuing to care for patients.
Now the anniversary is being used as a time to give thanks to not just those in the NHS, but all who have helped during the pandemic.
People around the UK took to their doorsteps every Thursday night for 10 weeks during lockdown to clap for our heroes, and now that gesture could become an annual event, starting from this weekend.
This Sunday at 5pm, people are being asked to pause wherever they are, or stand on their doorsteps once more, and applaud the NHS staff, key workers and all those who have volunteered or helped to keep services and community networks going.
Broadcasters will suspend normal transmissions as part of the tribute.
And on Saturday evening, everybody is being asked to put a light in their windows in remembrance of those we have lost during the pandemic. Public buildings will be lit up in NHS blue, including Coventry Cathedral, as well as national landmarks such as the Royal Albert Hall, Blackpool Tower, the Shard and the Wembley Arch.
Lord Mayor of Coventry, Cllr Ann Lucas, said: “Our NHS is such a marvellous institution, and one that is admired by people all around the world.
“It makes sure that everyone is able to access first class medical treatment and over the years, I am sure that every single family must have had reason to thank our hospitals, doctors, nurses and all the dedicated, caring staff.
“I know that myself and my own family owe so much to the NHS and those who work for it.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has put the NHS in the spotlight and has reminded us all just how wonderful it is, and how lucky we are to have it in our lives. It has also shown the bravery of key workers in many other professions and of volunteers working in our communities.
“The Thursday night doorstep claps were a way for us all to show our gratitude and they were so well supported right across our city. Now we have a chance this weekend to say ‘happy birthday’ to the NHS and to thank all those who have helped us through these difficult times.
“I am sure that the people of Coventry will be out on their doorsteps in force, and the sound of applause will be heard around our city.”
A photograph of a Coventry midwife will also feature as part of the nation’s celebrations.
Acclaimed photographer Rankin, who has photographed people such as Queen Elizabeth II, Kate Moss and The Rolling Stones, has created portraits of a dozen NHS workers around the country.
They will be showcased at local bus stops, roadside billboards as well as iconic pedestrian areas including the world-famous Piccadilly Lights in central London this week to mark the 72nd anniversary.
They include Claudia Anghel, Midwife at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire; Anne Roberts, District Nurse, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; and Jack Hannay Manikum, a 111 call handler with the West Midlands Ambulance Service.