In a personal message, the Queen said NHS staff across the UK had worked “with courage, compassion and dedication” for more than 70 years…reports Asian Lite News.
The UK Royal Family on Monday celebrated the 73rd anniversary of the National Health Service (NHS) with the award of the George Cross and a cathedral service.
The award comes in recognition of 73 years of dedicated service, including for the courageous efforts of healthcare workers across the country battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a personal message, the Queen said NHS staff across the UK had worked “with courage, compassion and dedication” for more than 70 years.
In her handwritten message, the Queen wrote, as quoted by BBC: “It is with great pleasure, on behalf of a grateful nation, that I award the George Cross to the National Health Services of the United Kingdom.
“This award recognises all NHS staff, past and present, across all disciplines and all four nations.
“Over more than seven decades, and especially in recent times, you have supported the people of our country with courage, compassion and dedication, demonstrating the highest standards of public service.
“You have our enduring thanks and heartfelt appreciation.”
The George Cross – the highest civilian gallantry award, equivalent to the Victoria Cross – has only been bestowed collectively twice before, and Monday marked the second time it has been awarded collectively by Queen Elizabeth II.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We wouldn’t be where we are today without our health services. NHS staff have cared for us and our friends and family on the frontline of a pandemic for over a year, and I have witnessed their courage first-hand.
“Thanks to their devotion and duty our NHS has saved countless lives, and the George Cross is a symbol of the nation’s gratitude. I know the whole of the UK is behind me in paying tribute and giving thanks for everything the NHS has done for us not only in the last year, but since its inception.”
The George Cross was first bestowed collectively to the people of Malta on 15 April 1942 by King George VI and was granted to the Royal Ulster Constabulary (the fore-runner of the Police Service of Northern Ireland) on 23 November 1999.
The George Cross is given for acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger. The George Cross was instituted in 1940.