PREMIER League stars will clap for the nation’s Covid heroes this weekend – as the NHS reaches its 72nd birthday.
Footballers and match officials will applaud healthcare and other key workers ahead of kick-off to say thanks for their amazing efforts during the pandemic.
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As the NHS marks its anniversary on Sunday, stars from across the world of cricket and rugby will also join the ovation at 5pm.
Battling the Covid crisis has been the greatest challenge the health service has ever faced since it was founded on July 5, 1948.
Millions of staff – from doctors, to nurses and porters – have pulled out all the stops to care for the 100,000 Brits struck down by the virus.
BBC presenter and football legend Gary Lineker said: “It is great to see football, along with cricket and rugby, coming together with the NHS, on its birthday, to thank all the key workers with one big final nationwide clap.
“So, at 5pm this Sunday raise a glass, share a cuppa or, dare I say it, watch the football with your neighbours, friends or relatives.
“Applaud all those who are working so hard and sacrificing so much to keep us all going throughout this period.
“But think about how we can all help come together and start to build even better communities and a country we can be even more proud of.”
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens welcomed the occasion – and thanked all those who kept the country running during the crisis.
Applaud all those who are working so hard and sacrificing so much to keep us all going throughout this period.
He said: “Sport plays a huge part in millions of people’s lives, and is a major contributor to both our physical and mental wellbeing.
“As sport returns to our national life following this difficult lockdown period, it’s both fitting and welcome that some of our top sports stars are helping thank frontline NHS staff who have been at the sharp end of our health service’s amazing response to coronavirus.”
FA Chairman Greg Clarke said: “The nation, the whole football community included, is enormously grateful to all those who have helped keep country going throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
“There have been so many stories of key workers not just doing their job, but going the extra mile to help support their communities and the NHS.
“Supporting them is the best way to get back to playing and watching the game we all love.
“The FA will be joining with the NHS and Together in remembering all those who have lost their lives to Covid-19, as well as supporting a final and biggest clap at 5pm this Sunday to thank all those key workers and members of the public who helped the NHS during its most challenging time.”
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