“See you at 5pm on the 5th

Sunday 5 July marks the 72nd birthday of the NHS and we want to use this weekend to remind everyone to take part in the biggest ‘thank-you’ our region has ever seen. It will culminate in an epic pause for applause at 5pm on the 5th.

This region-wide coming together will thank all those who have been helping us through the pandemic and recognise the vital community connections that continue to support us all.

Broadcasters will suspend normal transmissions at 5pm as people across the country stop what they’re doing to think of others.

Everybody will be encouraged take a moment and join with others (following social distancing advice of course) in their streets or neighbourhoods to applaud not just the NHS and other key workers but all those who have volunteered or helped keep services and community networks going.

Following the applause organisers hope people will enjoy a drink or a cup of tea and reflect with family, friends and neighbours on the bonds that have sustained us in recent months. It will be a wholly inclusive occasion, with those still shielding also encouraged to take part in any way they feel able to.

The NHS itself will be saying its own big thank you to everybody who has helped it continue doing its job in the face of the biggest health challenge it has ever faced.

Jackie Bird, Chief Nurse, NHS North West said:

“The NHS has stepped up in ways never seen before to work out how to deliver services differently for the benefit of our patients throughout the pandemic. We’ve recruited tens of thousands of extra staff, we’ve welcomed back previous NHS workers back to the NHS family and we’ve been amazed by the offers of volunteers across the country.

“I’d really like to shout out to all the key workers who have worked throughout the pandemic. I’d also like to say thank you to the public too, who have embraced the lockdown measures to protect the NHS and our communities.

“The NHS is grateful to the nation for its efforts great and small.”

Across the North West, health and care organisations have planned lots of events and created some really moving online content, to commemorate and celebrate their staff and local communities. Many NHS teams have created videos of thanks, to share far and wide, in recognition of the sacrifices made by so many, to keep friends and family safe, and protect the NHS.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, who have shared a wonderful video of their staff and people in the community clapping for carers, and remembering Simon Guest, a radiographer from Furness General Hospital who sadly died of COVID-19.

Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have also shared a moving tribute video, of #teamBridgewater staff and patients, saying and signing ‘thank you’.

At Whiston Hospital, part of St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust a series of tributes. All week the Hospitals’ Charity has been saying a big surprise thank you to some of the ‘superstar supporters’ from across the local community, and Chief Executive Ann Marr has penned a special thank you letter to people thanking them for all their help.

On Sunday, staff from across the trust will join Ann and the executive team to say a massive ‘thank you’ outside the A&E department, applauding the courage and commitment of colleagues and the local community, whose kindness and support has enabled the trust to respond so well.

There will also be a very special performance by local 11-year-old singer, Jessica Macdonald.

On Saturday evening, July 4th, everybody will 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 Blackpool Tower, the Port of Liverpool Building and Blackburn Rovers Football Stadium, to name a few.

The NHS’s birthday is always something to celebrate, and a wonderful time to reflect, but this year feels so much more poignant. A feeling echoed by world renowned photographer Rankin, who has created a collection of Powerful portraits of NHS workers who have served on the NHS front line throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, which have been showcased up and down the country.

Three of the NHS staff selected were from the North West. Emma Kelly, a critical care nurse at the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Marc Lyons, ICU Consultant, East Cheshire NHS Trust and Laura Arrowsmith, COVID-19 Ward Cleaner, Leighton Hospital, Crewe.

Dr David Levy, NHS North West Medical Director, said:

“The last four months has been the most challenging time ever for the NHS and in many respects the birthday period this weekend is an opportunity to celebrate, staff and other key workers who aren’t NHS, who have worked so hard. But also to the public who have done such a great job protecting the NHS.

“In many ways, this is a celebration for us all and what we have achieved. A chance to say thank you to everyone.”


Notes to editors


University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay clapping video:

Bridgewater Community NHS Foundation Trust thank you video:

St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust

‘Light Up Blue’ confirmed venues:


  • Liverpool Town Hall
  • St George’s Hall, Liverpool
  • Cunard Building, Liverpool
  • Port of Liverpool Building
  • World Museum, Liverpool
  • The new Royal site, Liverpool
  • Palm House, Sefton
  • Chorley Clock Tower
  • Steve Prescot Bridge
  • Edge Hill Campus, Ormskirk
  • St Luke’s Church
  • Bascule Bridge
  • Greystone Bridge, Knowsley
  • The Spine (The new northern home for the Royal College of Physicians (RCP)
  • Blackburn Rovers Football Stadium and outdoor screens
  • Blackpool Tower heart and front
    • Central Pier Wheel
    • Blackpool Pleasure Beach Big One
    • The Blackpool Winter Gardens dome
    • Blackpool Illuminations (Promenade and Lightworks Depot)

About Rankin

Rankin is a British photographer, publisher and film director. With a portfolio ranging from portraiture to documentary, he has shot The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Kate Moss, Kendall Jenner and The Queen to name only a few. Fearless behind the lens, his imagery has become engrained in contemporary iconography. Synonymous with compelling portraiture, rankin’s lens captures, creates and unveils icons. His portraits have graced the covers of Elle, Harpers Bazaar, Esquire, GQ and Rolling Stone, and he has produced landmark advertising for brands like Nike, Swatch and Dove, and charities including Oxfam and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

The portrait images can be accessed here: