HEALTH chiefs in Cheshire are thanking the county's NHS heroes as the vital service prepares to turn 72 amid the greatest test in its lifetime.

Ahead of the birthday on Sunday, July 5, NHS Cheshire clinical commissioning group (CCG) is praising the healthcare professionals and key workers who have kept the county safe in the pandemic, as well as residents who have made sacrifices to support the NHS.

Clare Watson, accountable officer at NHS Cheshire CCG, said: “In recent months the Cheshire NHS – in partnership with local authorities and many other partners and supporters – has stepped up in ways never seen before to deliver services differently during lockdown.

"Quite simply, this could not have been achieved without the commitment, skill and flexibility of Cheshire's health and care workers.

“But the unprecedented challenge facing the NHS would also have been made all but impossible without the support of countless other people – the key workers who have kept the county going, the volunteers who have supported our most vulnerable and the people of Cheshire too, who have embraced lockdown measures to help protect the NHS.”

On Saturday evening, national landmarks will be lit up blue ahead of the birthday, before a 'pause for applause' at 5pm on Sunday to thank key workers.

Clare added: “For months people stepped outside their homes every Thursday evening to clap their support for carers, key workers and the NHS. So it’s only fitting that – to mark the 72nd birthday of the NHS – we now say thank you back.

“We would therefore like to take this moment to say a heartfelt 'thank you' to everyone who has helped Cheshire's response to Covid-19. Both for the unprecedented sacrifices made so far and the continuing efforts to come.

“You helped us to help you, the community we are here to serve.”