THE health secretary has paid tribute to our kind-hearted readers as we can reveal your efforts have helped raise more than £500,000 for the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

In March, we launched our Support Our NHS Guardian Angels campaign in response to the biggest threat facing our nation since the Second World War. With the country in lockdown and the urgent need for medical supplies, our paper asked you to dig deep to support our heroes on the frontline.

And you did not let us down. Over the course of the past four months, with generosity that has been both exemplary and moving, readers in their thousands have donated to our appeals.

And now we can share the news that in total across Newsquest’s network of local papers, our readers have raised more than £503,990 for hospital charities and trusts up and down the country.

Now Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has issued a special message of thanks to our readers for their gargantuan efforts.

Speaking to this newspaper, he said: “I am incredibly grateful to all the readers of the Worcester News for their generosity toward the Support Our NHS Guardian Angels during the colossal national effort to tackle coronavirus.

“For nearly 72 years, the NHS has always been there for us, and this global pandemic has been its toughest challenge yet. Across the whole country, the bonds between our heroic NHS staff and local communities have been further strengthened by the support of your readers.”

As the nation takes small steps into the unlocking period and hopefully towards a new normal, we wanted to take the time to say thank you to our compassionate readers who have supported our NHS through this pandemic. In years to come, the difference you have made will not be forgotten."