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.
Across the country, coming together was the theme of the thanks. Amy Thompson, from Upper Wraxall, Wiltshire, said: “During this time of isolation it is one of the ways we can collectively show our gratitude and respect to all members of our NHS. Whilst we quarantine in the comfort of our homes they risk their lives to save others. It’s really important to us that they know we want to say thank you.”
Martin Knight, from Cold Ashton, near Bath, added: “As a family we wanted to show our appreciation for the Herculean effort that our NHS staff are putting in every single day and night.
“We were all slightly overwhelmed when we heard the amount of people either coming back to the NHS or volunteering to help out in any way they can, just amazing. It’s these acts of kindness and bravery that inspire each and every one of us.”
Applauding in Glasgow’s southside was Pam Duncan-Glancey, a disability rights activists and NHS employee. “I’ve used the NHS more than most, and it’s incredibly important at a time like this to show solidarity. I don’t work in frontline care, but I see the impact that this crisis is having on colleagues and not once have I seen anyone complain.”
Duncan-Glancy’s own father died suddenly and unexpectedly on Wednesday, and the compassion shown to her family by health service professionals is another reason why she is clapping only 24 hours later. “We lost my dad yesterday, yet despite being busier than ever, the paramedic in attendance still took the time to make my sister and I a cup of tea and the ambulance service and NHS24 [Scotland’s telephone health service] – the busiest people on the planet right now – sent us their condolence”.
via Health | The Guardian https://ift.tt/33N0boZ