To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS, famous faces pay tribute to the staff who helped them at their toughest moments in Dear NHS, a new book by comedian Adam Kay. Here, well-known locals tell Linda Stewart why they owe it a debt of gratitude.
Musician and former broadcaster George Jones (75) was born in east Belfast and now lives on the Ards Peninsula. Married to Hilary, he has a grown-up son and daughter and three grandchildren. NHS staff cared for him through his knee replacement.
I have an artificial knee. About five years ago I had to go through a serious operation which resulted in a whole replacement knee. I'd like to thank the NHS at Musgrave Park Hospital in Belfast for all they did.
It was an extremely painful procedure. They saw the bones and put the artificial joint in.
During the night I was in a lot of pain after the operation and they were at my beck and call every minute, straight in and fresh and sharp and doing whatever I needed. I attended the physio clinics and they were brilliant; they gave me exercises to get back on my feet and there were people who came to my home to check if I was getting up on my feet again.
I was full of trepidation about the operation because I hadn't stayed in hospital before but I was greatly relieved. I kept saying to my wife: "These people are brilliant."
They were bringing people in from other wards to say hello, people who listened to me on the radio. I remember they brought in a little girl in a wheelchair, she was a wee giggler and laugher, and they brought her to sing a song to me and I sang to her. After that I got the guitar sent up and we would have a wee singsong in the ward.
I was off work for four or five months after the surgery. The surgical staff, the nursing staff and the physio staff were all amazing. They were the ones who made it possible for me to work again.
To me there are three or four words that describe the staff of the NHS: underpaid, overworked, but at the end of the day they are just angels in disguise. You have to have an aptitude for the job they do, and those people do it heart and soul. It's their quiet attitude that calms patients down. It's only afterwards when you get home you think how wonderfully they've dealt with it.
We've never experienced a crisis like this pandemic in our lives, it's like a plague. These men and women are risking their lives and money can't pay them. It's a wake-up call for how much we need our NHS and why they should get what they thoroughly deserve.
This country and the whole of the UK have built up the NHS, and it should never be tampered with, only enhanced and made better. We tend to take our doctors and hospitals for granted, but without them this country couldn't work.
One day I was sitting thinking about all this and I decided to do a painting to thank the NHS - telling my thank you in paint. It's like a dawn or sunset across the water, it's because of them we will see another dawn. I gave the painting to a girl whose sister had to live apart from her children during the pandemic because she couldn't go home; she worked in an operating theatre and she had to stay in a separate house. It's these sacrifices that make such a difference. I believe it is going to be on display in Antrim Area Hospital.
Former jockey Sir Anthony Peter McCoy (46), from Moneyglass in Co Antrim, has broken almost every major bone in his body after riding a record 4,357 winners and becoming Champion Jockey 20 consecutive times. He lives in Berkshire with his wife Chanelle, Lady McCoy (44), and two children Eve (12) and Archie (7).
I have been in hospital quite a lot, to be honest. With a job like I had you appreciate more than anyone the importance of the NHS. There are many things you can do without, but the NHS isn't one of them.
I obviously have more appreciation and respect for the NHS than many people. A lot of people have had different illnesses, whereas most of what I've been treated for was self-inflicted.
I've been injured a lot - I've had a broken ankle, arm, leg, wrist, collarbones, cheekbone, lower back, middle back, pretty much all my ribs, my sternum, I've fractured my shoulder blade. I didn't break my femur, but I've broken everything else.
I broke my back in 2008 and I was lying on the ground for five or six minutes and didn't have much feeling. That was probably the one time when you think the worst, you think about whether you're going to walk again, never mind anything else.
I was having full-time bed care for a few weeks and I was lying on my back for a few weeks. I couldn't do anything, I had to have someone wash me every day.
But the care was first-class. You need to be a special person to have the mentality to do a job like that, caring for people. I'm sure they see some awful things.
The NHS is as important a thing as there is. If you don't have your health, you have nothing. You can do without your car if the mechanic is closed, but you can't do without your health.
Larne-born musician Keith Semple (38), who won Pop Stars: The Rivals in 2002 before enjoying chart success with One True Voice and competing in The Voice USA in 2016, paid tribute to NHS who cared for his dad, geologist Ralph (67), when he had a brain aneurysm a couple of years ago. Now living in Chicago, Keith is married to Lanette (35) and has two daughters, Rowan (7) and Roslyn (4).
My dad had a brain aneurysm a couple of years ago and without the NHS he wouldn't be alive right now.
He left in an ambulance and within a half-hour they took him from Antrim Hospital to the Royal Victoria in Belfast to do keyhole surgery and they saved his life. About a year ago he had his second surgery; he had to wait an extra month or two to get it, but it was a success and he's alive and well.
If he lived where I live here in the US there would probably be a half million price tag, so the fact that my dad is alive and well has to be attributed at least in part to the NHS. Thanks to them he's alive.
During my childhood I was in the ER all the time. I broke my wrist three times when I was a kid and I was rushed into Moyle Hospital in Larne quite a few times.
I have a different perspective of the NHS now, having lived in the US for the last 14 years. As a kid there was never an issue - I went to the dentist when I needed to, went to the ER when I was hurt and I always had the doctor to visit when I needed to ask a question. I played tennis for Northern Ireland for a long time and I ended up getting hurt a lot through that. The first experience I had with the American system was when literally 20 minutes or less before my show was about to start I ran out the back, threw up my entire guts and I was convulsing and hyperventilating. It was the worst food poisoning I've ever had.
They brought the ambulance, took me to the ER for four or five tests while they ran tests and I remember a month or two later receiving a $7,000 bill in the mail. I've realised it's even more essential that a place like Britain funds the NHS properly and makes sure it's breaking even. I've got nothing but good things to say about the NHS. It's much better than a lot of countries and I hope people appreciate it. They might have to wait a couple of months, but they get top quality care and it's not going to make them homeless.
I believe healthcare should be a human right for everybody on Earth, no matter how much it costs a country.
Businesswoman and former Miss Great Britain Gemma Garrett (38), from Belfast, says the NHS handling of her dad Stephen's (63) recent cancer diagnosis has been flawless.
My health has been good, touch wood, but just before Covid-19 got really bad my dad was diagnosed with cancer.
Then Covid hit and we were so desperately worried about the whole thing. We knew some operations were going to be put on hold and we wondered whether to go private.
But thankfully that didn't happen in the end, the NHS were absolutely fantastic from start to finish. They were absolutely flawless.
Right from the first scan through to the end result, I couldn't say anything bad about our NHS. He had a tumour on the kidney and had to have the whole kidney removed. It was quite a scary time along with Covid.
We couldn't believe how quickly they got my dad through it and operated on him. He's 100% recovered now and has been out jogging and cycling. He's back to full health and we're all overjoyed.
I have a lot of respect for the NHS staff and I would have been out clapping for them every Thursday. I just think that sometimes the NHS staff really get a hard time and it's not their fault. It's because of the budgets and we have to look at the people who are setting those budgets.
I've seen first-hand how hard they work. We have people who work in the NHS in our family - my sister in law is a nurse - and they work tirelessly.
We have just really, really got our eyes opened to how much the NHS needs funding. This should be our priority and it's terrible that it's taken something like Covid to realise that we have taken our health system for granted for years.
Author and beef farmer Orla McAlinden (47) is an ex-veterinary surgeon. Originally from Portadown, she lives in Kildare with her husband Patrick and four children.
My neighbour across the street was in the hall talking on the telephone when she glanced out her window and saw me falling out of my mother's upstairs bedroom window. I was two-and-a-half at the time.
My mum had just taken her eyes off me for a split second and the next thing I was up the stairs and falling out the window. My neighbour called the ambulance and they took me to Craigavon Area Hospital, which wasn't long open; that was really lucky because prior to that I would have had to go to Belfast.
I was in hospital for three months. I broke loads of bones and I was literally lying on the flat of my back for three months with my legs in traction.
It was very difficult because I was just a toddler, just learning how to walk. But I am 100% now, there's not a bother in me. I'm fully active and I have no arthritis as a result.
Whenever I have something really scary to do as an adult, like publishing a new book or singing a recital after learning to sing as an adult, I think to myself I could so easily be dead because I did a lot of damage to my body. But my head fell into a flower bed and didn't sustain any injuries while the rest of me fell on to the concrete path.
My parents had to leave me in hospital at the age of two-and-a-half and they only got the same visiting hours as everyone else, so they had to entrust me to the nursing staff for 24 hours a day.
The staff were fantastic.
I think we should be very careful about the creeping privatisation of the NHS. I live in the south now where we have a very unequal two-tier system, and where people who can afford private treatment get much faster treatment then everybody else and a much earlier diagnosis, so their outcomes are much better.
There is a temptation for people in the UK to think "I'll just go private for this", but that is how you devalue a public system and end up with two very unequal systems running side by side.
Curated by comedian Adam Kay, Dear NHS is published by Trapeze (RRP £16.99). All profits will go to NHS Charities Together and The Lullaby Trust, which supports parents bereaved of babies and young children