Details can now be announced of the plans for the weekend of July 4th and 5th when everybody is being urged to take part in the biggest ‘thank-you’ the country has ever seen on the birthday of the NHS. It will culminate in an epic pause for applause at 5pm on the 5th.
This major country-wide coming together will thank all those who have been helping us through the pandemic and recognise the vital community connections that continue to support us all.
Broadcasters will suspend normal transmissions at 5pm as people across the country pause what they’re doing to think of others.
Everybody will be encouraged to stop what they’re doing and join with others (following social distancing advice of course) in their streets or neighbourhoods to applaud not just the NHS and other key workers but all those who have volunteered or helped keep services and community networks going.
Following the applause organisers hope people will enjoy a drink or a cup of tea and reflect with family, friends and neighbours on the bonds that have sustained us in recent months. It will be a wholly inclusive occasion, with those still shielding also encouraged to take part in any way they feel able to.
The NHS itself will be saying its own big thank you to everybody who has helped it continue doing its job in the face of the biggest health challenge it has ever faced.
And on Saturday evening, July 4th, everybody will asked to put a light in their windows in remembrance of those we have lost during the pandemic. Public buildings will be lit up in NHS blue, including the Royal Albert Hall, Blackpool Tower, the Shard and the Wembley Arch.
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive, said:
“This year has been the most challenging in NHS history, with staff displaying extraordinary dedication, skill and compassion to care for the 100,000 patients with Covid-19 who needed specialist hospital treatment and many others besides.
“During this testing time our nurses, doctors, physios, pharmacists and countless more colleagues were sustained by the support of the public, not least through the weekly applause for key workers.
“No health service, not even the NHS, could have coped alone with this coronavirus pandemic.
“From bus drivers and teachers to care staff and food retailers and, of course, the public who took action to stay at home to stop infection spreading, everyone played their part.
“The NHS’s anniversary this year not only offers the opportunity for us to say thank you to the nation, but for us all to come together at 5pm to pause and recognise all the work which has taken place in the last months and say a heartfelt thank you.”
Clare Phillips, Director of Social Purpose for ITV, said:
“These have been a tough few months for people all over the UK. From key workers in the NHS and in other fields to everyone staying at home to help beat the virus, so many have done so much for the greater good. So the NHS’s birthday feels like the perfect moment for ITV to join in in encouraging us all to say thank you to each other and have a (socially distanced) cup of tea with a neighbour.”
Channel Four will join Sunday’s moment of thanks by airing live coverage of the nation’s applause.
Dr Andrew Goodall, NHS Wales Chief Executive, said: “Clap for Carers was very much embraced here in Wales and I’m delighted to support this opportunity to applaud all our critical workers once again on the health service’s birthday in its country of birth. I know communities across Wales will want to pay tribute and thank everyone who has played their part in supporting our nation through this pandemic.”
Support for the initiative has come from individuals and families all across the UK as well as grassroots community leaders, carers, emergency workers, sportspeople, religious leaders and celebrities.
The Premier League, Scouts, Girl Guiding, WI, and the British Paralympics Association are among the supporting organisations.