NHS heroes have been awarded the George Cross for bravery on behalf of a 'grateful nation'July 5, 2021
NHS heroes have been awarded the highest civilian honour for bravery on behalf of a “grateful nation”.
Today, on its 73rd birthday, the entire organisation receives the George Cross from the Queen.
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The award comes more than a year after The Sun led calls for the NHS to receive the honour.
Her Majesty, 95, said the gong is not only a reward for Covid-19 heroics, but honours all of those who have served in the NHS.
The medal — to be presented at a later date — comes as Britain is emerging from the pandemic. In a letter, the Queen hailed the “courage, compassion and dedication” shown by past and present NHS staff and described the “enduring thanks” and “heartfelt appreciation” of every Brit.
The Sun had backed Lord Ashcroft’s bid to get the gong.
A thrilled Lord Ashcroft said yesterday: “It is only the third time in the decoration’s 81-year history that a collective GC has been awarded by the reigning monarch — and its recipients on this occasion could hardly be more deserving.” He said it is an appropriate time to show appreciation to those “who risked, and in some cases gave, their lives to treat Covid-19 sufferers”.
He added: “The Sun was quick to highlight my call on its front page and the paper too should be praised for championing the cause of NHS workers.”
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the gong celebrated the “entire team” who responded to the “greatest challenge this country has faced since the Second World War”. The George Cross — instituted by King George VI in September 1940 during the height of the Blitz — is usually presented to individuals.
UK landmarks were lit up in blue at the weekend to salute the NHS.
Today, Prince William and Kate will celebrate NHS Covid heroes with a commemoration at St Paul’s Cathedral and a tea party at Buckingham Palace.
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