This weekend the NHS celebrates its 72nd anniversary.

Following the success of the weekly Clap for Carers, people will be encouraged to reflect on the heroes of the pandemic at 5pm today with a final national round of applause. 

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

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “This year has been the most challenging in NHS history, with staff displaying extraordinary dedication, skill and compassion to care for the 100,000 patients with Covid-19 who needed specialist hospital treatment and many others besides”.

Earlier this week, we invited readers to tell us why they were thankful for the local NHS. Here are just some of the dozens of heartfelt responses we’ve received.

1. Without the NHS i would have died having my first child. My partner would have died from internal bleeding 7 years ago without them. Thank you. All of you.

2. Thankful for Poole Maternity hospital saving the life of my eldest, when she was born ‘dead’ in July 2009, she’s now almost 11 now.

3. Thank you NHS Poole you saved my life 5 years ago when l had sepsis . Also to all the staff at Bournemouth where my son Tim is a nurse on ward 1 . And to all NHS all over the country . Thank you.

4. Thank you to all the staff at Poole Maternity Hospital that brought my two children into the world. Thank you to Southampton hospital staff who successfully removed my husband's brain tumor. It was an incredibly stressful time but the staff were absolutely amazing and helped us through such a bad time. I salute you all.

5. NHS Essex saved my life on many occasions as a child when I went into numerous asthmatic comas. NHS Dorset saved my son's life 9 years ago when he stopped breathing. Scariest moment of my life but the fantastic team there worked so hard and he's now a healthy 10 year old. Forever thankful and in awe of the amazing work you do each and every day.

6. Incredible NHS. Three years ago I got breast cancer and the Jigsaw unit at Bournemouth Hospital were great. Within 6 months my husband got guillan barre syndrome and spent 2 weeks in intensive care, those nurses are a special breed, they saved his life and supported us as a family, can't thank them enough.

7. As an American who made her home in England, I am profoundly grateful for the NHS for not only the excellent care myself and my family have received but also for the fact there was never the possibility of huge medical bills! Thank you Poole Maternity for helping me safely deliver my two sons and thank you Poole A&E and Children's Ward for being there when I needed to run the same two children there. Thank you Manchester NHS for treating my mother-in-law's myeloma and for keeping her with us. Thank you to al the selfless men and women of the NH! You are true heroes!

8. A massive thankyou to all at Poole Hospital, who are actively looking after my care, for arranging my chemo, and to the Harbour Hospital for allowing my surgery by handing over wards and operating suites for NHS use during this Covid crisis. The support from the breast care team, and the oncology team has been amazing, and although I still have a long journey ahead, I know I won’t be alone!! My sincerest thanks to all who have stayed at work, so I could be cared for.

9. Twenty two years ago I was diagnosed with cancer I had a major operation and radiation within 18 months I had cancer again I was just coming up to 40 I then had the necessary operation radiation and chemotherapy every single department that treated me were fantastic I am now 60 an age I didn’t think I would be so I want to say a big thank you NHS.

10. I have had the best treatment of my life since moving to Poole 4 years ago. I have a fantastic consultant who consistently goes the extra mile for me, kind and efficient GPs, and since having my son two months ago, I've experienced the very best of care from midwives, doctors, anesthetists and paramedics. I feel so lucky to not only live in a country where we have the NHS but also to live in an area where the quality of care cannot be beaten.

11. Thank you to all the wonderful staff at Poole Maternity Hospital for delivering my baby girl safely into the world. I especially would like to thank Alice. The nurse that stayed all through the night keeping a close eye on me whilst i was struggling to breathe on oxygen after developing tachycardia and was hanging on for my life. I was burning up with a temperature of over 40 and she kept me hydrated and cool throughout the ordeal not only monitoring me but also my baby. I am beyond thankful for all the hard work and appreciate every single person for their efforts to not only keep me alive but also my girl. 

12. My hubby had a heart attack in January this year. If it wasn’t for our Doc at Alma Medical Centre & the great care at Bournemouth Hospital, my hubby would not be here. I have young children who almost lost their dad. I can’t thank the docs & nurses enough for saving my hubby’s life.

13. With all my heart, thankyou for ridding me of cancer, for saving my life and for helping me back to full health. Eternally grateful to both Royal Bournemouth and Poole Hospitals.

14. Thank you to DCH NHS renal for saving my life when I crashlanded with kidney failure 11 years ago, Bmth, Poole, DCH and Southbourne dialysis units for keeping me alive for 7 years, Southmead NHS Bristol for my transplant 4 years ago and DCH NHS renal team for keeping a check on me since. My family and I owe you a debt of gratitude we can never fully repay. Thank you.

15. My little boy 6 years nearly lost his Mummy (me) due to complications following his birth. The Drs and Nurses on duty that night saved my life ensuring that Henry , and his big brother and Sister Oliver and Grace still had a Mummy. I will always be so so grateful for the tireless work the NHS do , a truly special body of people that work in this service. Thank you NHS.