For ten straight weeks, we showed an outpouring of love and appreciation for our NHS through the #ClapForOurCarers campaign, which saw millions of us stepping outside our front doors (and leaning out of windows) every Thursday at 8pm to applaud the brave and vital work being done by NHS workers. Many were touched and moved by the event, with even the royals getting involved and the Queen describing it as an ‘expression of our national spirit’.
Beginning on 26 March, we continued to show our support through applause every week, until the founder of the movement, Annemarie Plas, announced that 28 May should mark the final clap, saying that it would be ‘beautiful’ to end the clap on it’s 10th week and instead make it an annual event.
The annual Clap For Our Carers is being proposed to happen on the last Thursday of March every year, meaning 2021’s will happen on 25 March. However, a new campaign, dubbed ‘/Together’, wants to make one final nationwide clap happen this year to mark the NHS’s 72nd birthday on 5 July.
Founder Annemarie Plas is backing this decision, as are a number of high profile figures, including the archbishop of Canterbury, Gary Lineker and astronaut Tim Peake.
Preceding the final 2020 clap on Sunday 5 July will be a one minute silence on Saturday 4 July to remember the tens of thousands of victims of coronavirus, during which people will be encouraged to light candles in their windows in an act of remembrance.
This news comes as research for the /Together campaign found that the public feel more connected to their neighbours than before the crisis, and a poll found that 60 per cent agree ‘the public response to coronavirus has shown the unity of our society more than its divides.’
Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, commented: ‘My sincere hope is that this weekend will serve as a powerful moment of remembrance, thanks and connection, as we come together and commit to helping to create kinder, closer, more connected communities.’
He added: ‘This crisis has in many ways made us more grateful for each other and more indebted to the workers who put themselves at risk to keep our country running and protect the vulnerable. It has shown people at their best – volunteering, helping neighbours, protecting those at greatest risk, pulling together as communities to support one another.’