On Sunday 5 July, it will be 72 years since the NHS was founded.

During the last few months, the NHS has been through the greatest test of its lifetime. And we will continue to deal with the many challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic for the foreseeable future.

This year’s NHS anniversary celebrations are the perfect opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to everybody at the Royal Free London for their incredible work, and to our local community for all of your support.

Caroline Clarke, RFL group chief executive, said: “Our staff have experienced a monumental challenge – but have responded heroically. And this year, the way we mark our anniversary will feel more poignant than ever.”

Saying thank you, together

This year, we’ll be marking the anniversary of the NHS by coming together to say thank you to colleagues, key workers, loved ones and neighbours – everybody who has kept us going in recent months.

This weekend, we’ll be sharing some of the key moments from our response to COVID-19 on social media. To get involved, share your own pictures along with a message for the community and the hashtag #RFL72.

On Sunday 5 July there will be final clap for the NHS – and all key workers – at 5pm. This is a chance to celebrate everything that has been achieved over the past six months together as a community.

Following the 5pm clap, everybody is encouraged to stay outside and show thanks and appreciation to their neighbours. Please remember to maintain proper social distancing.

Thanks to the Royal Free Charity

The Royal Free Charity has kindly arranged to mark the occasion at each of our hospital sites. The Big Drop Brewing Company and Gino's Ice Creams will visit our hospitals to serve a free pint of alcohol free beer or ice cream for to our staff at the following dates and times:

  • Royal Free Hospital – Sunday 5 July, 3-6pm, located below the catering terrace
  • Chase Farm Hospital – Monday 6 July, 3-6pm, located near the hospital’s main entrance, next to the bus stops
  • Barnet Hospital – Tuesday 7 July, 3-6pm, located just outside the hospital’s main entrance
  • The Big Drop Brewing Company are also dropping off bottles of alcohol free beer to be distributed to our other sites on Wednesday.

Reflect on the past six months

There will also be a chance to reflect on the past six months. On Saturday 4 July, the eve of the NHS anniversary, everyone is invited to join in remembering those whose lives were lost to COVID-19 by lighting up a doorway or window in their home. Use a candle, lamp or torch to shine a light at 8pm.