RESIDENTS in Winchester district are being encouraged to take part in a final epic applause to thank key workers on the 72nd anniversary of the NHS.

The weekly Clap for Carers became a staple of lockdown in the first few months, with neighbours heading out to their doorsteps to give thanks to healthcare staff in the Covid-19 crisis.

On Sunday, July 5, people are being encouraged to get their pots and pans ready for a last clap, applauding carers and key workers at 5pm - 72 years since the NHS and social care system was established.

Speaking ahead of the event, Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Winchester hospital, said: “A huge thank you on this NHS Day of Thanks. Thank you to the amazing HHFT staff who have done so much to provide compassionate, outstanding care for our patients.

“Thank you to all the key workers who have kept the schools open for our children, the shops stocked for our homes and the bins emptied.

“Thank you to our communities who have supported us in so many ways. Thank you.”

An event will take place outside of the Romsey Road hospital, celebrating not just healthcare workers but all key workers.

Broadcasters will also suspend transmissions for a moment as a mark of respect.

On Saturday, July 4, the day before the birthday, will be a moment of remembrance and reflection for all the lives of those we have lost during the pandemic. This is a chance for the nation to come together and pay our respects is being led by the Together Coalition.

People are being asked to put a light in their windows in remembrance of those lost to Covid-19.

Public buildings will also be lit up in blue for the NHS across the country, including the Guildhall clock in Winchester, which will shine this weekend.

Leader of Winchester City Council, Cllr Lucille Thompson, said: “We will be lighting up the Guildhall clock in blue this weekend to pay tribute to all the extraordinary people who work for our amazing NHS. This has been the most challenging time for the NHS and people across Winchester district will want to come out in force to say a huge thank you.

“I know many people are grieving for loved ones and continue to be profoundly impacted by Covid-19. Saturday’s act of national remembrance gives us all the chance to unite together as a mark of respect.”

The original Clap for Carers brought residents across the Winchester district and beyond out into their gardens, streets and balconies, and ended last month after 10 weeks of applause for frontline workers.

Annemarie Plas, who came up with the idea, said the show of gratitude had “had its moment” and risked being politicised.

Is your street taking part in the special Clap for Carers or will you be putting lights in your window? Send us your pictures and videos to be included in our round-up to the event.