Racegoers arrive for Grand National Day in 2019 (Nigel French/PA)The Jockey Club has announced it will donate 10,000 tickets to the NHS and social care sector in Merseyside for the first day of the 2021 Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree.

The day will also be renamed Liverpool’s NHS Day in honour of the dedicated NHS staff and volunteers across Merseyside who are working to care for COVID-19 patients.

The Jockey Club will ensure professional carers from the social care sector will also benefit from the initiative.

This year’s National meeting was cancelled amid the coronavirus outbreak, with racing in Britain on hold until at least the end of April.

Dickon White, regional director of Jockey Club Racecourses North West, said: “We’re delighted to donate 10,000 tickets to the NHS and professional carers across Merseyside. We’re also proud to rename the first day of the 2021 Randox Health Grand National as Liverpool’s NHS Day in recognition of the amazing NHS staff and volunteers.

“We understand just how hard the NHS and professional carers are working right now and this is our way of showing our gratitude.

“The ticket process and distribution will begin at the start of next year and we’ll be working with the relevant organisations to ensure those who should benefit from the initiative are included.”

Jan Ledward, chief officer at NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, the organisation which plans NHS care for the city, said: “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.

“Whether in GP 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.”