The biggest outpouring of support for the NHS is under way today as thousands of NHS Big Tea parties are taking place, either virtually or physically following the latest Covid-19 distancing guidance, to say a big thank you to the NHS on its 73rd birthday.

Solent NHS Trust staff catered for more than 3,000

In celebration, communities, individuals and businesses across the UK are demonstrating amazing creativity in joining NHS charities in baking, putting out the bunting and raising a cuppa to show gratitude to the NHS to mark the special occasion.

Care home residents, schools, hospitals and families are among the thousands of supporters raising funds for NHS charities today to provide immediate and long-term support to help our NHS champions through this most challenging time.

North Middlesex University Hospital staff held an NHS Big Tea at a vaccination centre (pictured above) and Solent NHS Trust catered for more than 3,000 as part of the NHS Big Tea celebrations.

Also among the planned events was an NHS Big Tea in the town of Sandwich and a 101-year-old care home resident in Leicester hosting an NHS Big Tea.

Anne Neil aka Granny Annie

Anne raising a mug of thanks with her husband Harry

For Anne Neil, the NHS Big Tea is deeply personal. Following her kidney cancer diagnosis in December 2020, she is now in remission after one of her kidneys was removed earlier this year. She is incredibly grateful for the wonderful NHS staff that helped her through hard times at the peak of the pandemic when she attended hospital visits alone.

When she held an early NHS Big Tea in her garden, eating cake and drinking tea with family, it was to thank the NHS.

Today, Anne is raising a mug of thanks to the incredible staff who cared for her during her cancer treatment. She said:

“I’m raising my mug to Consultant Urologist, Ms Jane Hendry, her operating theatre team and all staff of Ward 11D Queen Elizabeth University Hospital Glasgow for being first-class practitioners and top-class human beings.”

Anne’s NHS Big Tea was also a well-earned celebration after she cycled from Glasgow to Edinburgh on 26th June to raise funds for NHS Charities Together. She started cycling in lockdown as part of her daily exercise to aid her recovery. She then turned her efforts up a gear by pedalling over 50 miles to thank those NHS staff who cared for her, and  has raised over £1,300 with support from family and friends.

Rajinder Singh MBE aka The Skipping Sikh

Rajinder Singh MBE celebrated in his allotment

After raising nearly £15,000 for NHS Charities Together in 2020, Rajinder Singh MBE jumped at the chance to host an NHS Big Tea. Rajinder, who was made an MBE for services to health and fitness during Covid-19, is getting active in his allotment today and will meet friends, family and other plot owners to skip and snack on fruit and vegetables while raising their mugs to the NHS.

Explaining why he’s getting involved ahead of his NHS Big Tea party, Rajinder said:

“Health is wealth. The NHS will look after you but the best thing you can do is look after yourself. That’s why I keep active and encourage others. We’re so lucky to have the NHS and I can’t wait to join the NHS Big Tea celebrations with my family and friends. The NHS has helped us so much over the past year and it’s my way of saying thanks.”

Inspired by Sir Captain Tom Moore, Rajinder showed support for NHS Charities Together back in April 2020 by setting up a JustGiving page and spreading the message of keeping fit and healthy to minimise pressures on the NHS.

He also posted videos of himself exercising on social media, aiming at the start of lockdown to inspire others to keep active, look after themselves and feel part of a community after his local Gurdwara, like all places of worship in the UK, were closed due to government Covid-19 restrictions.

Ellie Orton OBE, CEO of NHS Charities Together, said:

“I’m truly overwhelmed by the support of generous people and businesses across the UK as well as by the variety of events and activities taking place for the NHS Big Tea. Whether holding a virtual or socially distanced party, or raising a mug of thanks to show gratitude, I thank every person involved for their commitment to supporting NHS charities. The funds you raise will help us to be there for the NHS when it needs us most.”

About the NHS Big Tea

Taking place on the NHS’s birthday on 5th July, NHS Charities Together is urging the public to join the UK’s biggest tea break and be part of a huge outpouring of thanks while raising money for the incredible people in the NHS who have been there for the nation over the last year.

Everyone can take part by raising a mug or holding their own virtual or physical tea party (following the latest social distancing guidance) at 3pm on that day or at any time that suits them on or around that date.

NHS Charities Together will use the funds raised through the NHS Big Tea to increase the practical and emotional support available to NHS staff, patients and volunteers are they continue to battle the Covid crisis and start down the long road to recovery.