Health workers to be honoured at 2021 Grand National
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The first day of next year's three day Grand National meeting is to be named "Liverpool's NHS Day" to honour National Health Service workers combatting the coronavirus pandemic, The Jockey Club announced on Thursday.
This year's meeting which usually climaxes with the world's greatest steeplechase on Saturday has been cancelled due to the pandemic which as of Tuesday had claimed 2,352 lives in the United Kingdom.
NHS staff are battling to deal with thousands of other patients who have the virus.
The Jockey Club, the largest commercial group in British horseracing which operates 15 racecourses including Aintree, which hosts The Grand National, said they would also be donating 10,000 tickets -- which usually cost £40($50)each -- to local NHS staff and social care workers.
The 10,000 tickets would be on top of the normal Thursday crowd of around 30,000.
"The day, which is due to take place on Thursday 8th April 2021, will also be re-named Liverpool's NHS Day in honour of the dedicated NHS staff and volunteers across Merseyside who are working tirelessly to care for COVID-19 patients," read the Jockey Club statement.
"In recognition of the hard work and commitment of carers who are providing support for vulnerable people in the community through this crisis, The Jockey Club will ensure professional carers from the social care sector will also benefit from the initiative."
Dickon White, the Jockey Club's regional director, said it was great to be able to offer something in appreciation of their sterling work.
"We understand just how hard the NHS and professional carers are working right now and this is our way of showing our gratitude," he said in a statement.
"The ticket process and distribution will begin at the start of next year."
Jan Ledward, chief officer at NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the organisation which plans NHS care for the city, warmly welcomed the gesture.
"Across local health and care, staff are working tirelessly to keep services running and give people the care they need, often in the face of significant challenges," she said.
"Whether in GP (General Practitioners) practices, hospitals, community and mental health services, care homes, social care -– or the many other areas that make up our local system –- teams are showing incredible resilience and dedication.
"We're delighted to see this enormous effort recognised."
© 2020 AFP