Queen Elizabeth to honour UK health workers during the pandemic

© Reuters/POOL FILE PHOTO: Fundraising UK veteran Captain Tom receives knighthood from Britain's Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth will recognise the work of hundreds of doctors, nurses, fundraisers and volunteers during the COVID pandemic when the her annual birthday honours list is published next month.

The list, which was due to be published in June, was postponed in order to add nominations for people playing key roles in the early months of the outbreak. It will be released on Oct. 10.

Britain has recorded the worst death toll in Europe and one of the worst economic contractions of any leading nation since the pandemic took hold in March.

Queen Elizabeth has made very few public appearances during that time but she has delivered a number of rallying messages to the nation and appeared in video conference calls with care workers and members of the military.

The honours have been awarded since Queen Victoria’s reign in the 19th century and aim to recognise not just well-known figures but those who have contributed to national life through often selfless and unsung contributions over many years.

In July the Queen knighted Captain Tom Moore, recognising the 100-year-old’s efforts in lifting the nation’s spirits during the pandemic by raising over $40 million for health workers by walking laps of his garden with the aid of a walking frame.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the pandemic was the greatest health challenge in our lifetime.

“We all have to play our part, but the dedication, courage and compassion seen from these recipients, be it responding on the frontline or out in their communities providing support to the most vulnerable, is an inspiration to us all,” he said.

“We owe them a debt of gratitude and the 2020 Queen’s Birthday honours will be the first of many occasions where we can thank them as a nation”.