At 8pm on Thursday, as darkness fell across the UK, millions of people stood at their front doors and open windows, in gardens and on balconies, to raise a thunder of gratitude for those working on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus.
With the hashtags #clapforourcarers and #thankyouNHS trending all day on social media, a nation that has been – messily, desperately – embracing technology as isolation guidance grows ever stricter was able to do something physical, in the open air, and the collective release was noisy and joyful.
The exuberant din of hand clapping, cheering, hoots and whistles resounded along streets that had been eerily hushed for most of the day.
Children banged on pots and pans, dogs barked, and handbells rang out. Boats sounded their horns across Bristol harbour, while in Oban the high school pipe band added their skirl to the vote of thanks.
From city centres to genteel suburbs and village high streets, the explosion of gratitude for NHS staff, care workers, pharmacists and supermarket staff was heartfelt and heavy with emotion as the country struggles to absorb the enormous, unprecedented changes of the past weeks.
Across Britain, monuments, buildings and bridges turned NHS blue, from London’s Shard to Manchester Central, the Tyne bridge and the SSE Hydro arena in Glasgow.
In individual isolated households the sound was amplified by television, and radio stations paused their programming. Some hung handmade banners of thanks out of windows and across porches, others posted footage of their streets online, adding to the sense of collective appreciation.
The organiser of the viral campaign, Annemarie Plas, a Dutch woman living in south London, said she was “so grateful” to see what originated as an idea between a few friends reach national proportions. Plas was inspired by similar efforts from her friends and family in the Netherlands, as well as watching footage of people coming together to thank their health professionals in Spain and France.Read More….
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