The nation rallied around the thousands of NHS and health care workers who put their lives at risk to fight the spread of the coronavirus tonight when the Clap for Carers campaign returned under a new name.
Thousands of Brits across the country stood in solidarity with frontline workers on their doorstep and helped fight Covid-19 after England fell into a third national lockdown.
The revamped campaign, renamed Clap for Heroes, calls on people across the UK to thank those who are helping in the fight against Covid. It has been expanded to include "every hero who played his role through the pandemic".
This includes deliverers, postal workers, teachers, home students, neighbors, scientists, volunteers, everyone who wears masks on the go and those who stayed at home and have distanced themselves socially.
The scenes come as the national landmarks lit up in blue tonight to pay homage to the hundreds of NHS frontline staff as part of the #LightItBlue initiative that began last March.
Along the South Bank in central London, the London Eye was among hundreds of venues across the UK to glow blue thanks to the country's key staff.
Elsewhere, the Shard, Madame Tussauds and a Selfridges department store on Oxford Street have also been lit in blue to share their support.
Children take to the streets to share their support for those on the front lines battling the coronavirus as the revamped campaign, renamed Clap for Heroes, returned
The people of Stockton, Teesside, put their heads outside the windows and take part in the newly launched Clap for Carers campaign
Union leader Sir Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria Starmer attend the first "Clap For Heroes" in front of their North London home
Boris Johnson announced today that he would turn on the army to step up the UK's coronavirus vaccination campaign and claimed the NHS could deliver 200,000 shocks a day by next Friday as part of ambitious plans to end the lockdown.
With the introduction of vaccines as the only light at the end of the tunnel, the Prime Minister reassured the public that enough doses are available to immunize all priority groups by mid-February.
He also promised to offer a sting to every resident of a nursing home by the end of January and announced a new national online booking system designed to speed the process.
Mr Johnson's mammoth jab pledge – which critics fear he can't deliver because it's too ambitious – came after Britain recorded 1,162 Covid deaths on the pandemic's second worst day. Health Department data shows that only April 21 had a worse death toll than today, when 1,224 victims were reported.
Clap for Carers campaign founder Annemarie Plas, 37, distanced herself from the event today after NHS staff urged people to avoid attending.
Ms. Plas, who devised the weekly ritual that ran on Thursdays at 8 p.m. for ten weeks during the initial lockdown, had confirmed her return yesterday.
However, the Dutch national, who lives in Streatham, south London, said she has since been personally abused and threatened to threaten herself and her family.
Aria Pangan 6 from Blackpool joins the hundreds of Britons across the country who stood on their doorstep in solidarity with the workers on the front lines
Schoolchildren from Teesside High School in Stockton-On-Tees take part in the new Clap for Heroes event that is on its way into the country
Along the South Bank in central London, the London Eye glows blue to support the frontline workers who are risking their lives fighting the coronavirus
A department store in Selfridges on Oxford Street in London is illuminated in blue and decorated with the words "Let's Change".
Meanwhile, a blue light shone on the fountain in Trafalgar Square as a thank you to the NHS staff and volunteers who worked on the front lines
Blackpool Tower is illuminated in blue as hundreds across the country show their support for frontline workers
One woman's mother, Ms. Plas, claimed she now "had no choice but to distance me from the national applause of that evening" – but insisted that the event not be canceled.
The yoga teacher added, "It can and should still happen at 8 p.m. tonight if you choose to clap for your heroes individually and personally."
It comes after NHS doctors, paramedics and surgeons pounded on Clap for Carers' return tonight, saying they'd prefer people to respect the national lockdown.
Ms. Plas, originally from Amsterdam, said today: “Since I announced the return of applause yesterday, I have been exposed to personal abuse and threats against myself and my family by a few haters on social media.
“Regardless of their views and reasons for believing this is acceptable conduct, I have not made a political statement and will not endanger my loved ones.
“I don't have a political agenda, I'm not a government employee, I don't work in PR, I'm just an average mother at home trying to deal with the lockdown situation.
"As a result, I have decided to distance myself from the applause that was planned for tonight and will no longer try to raise awareness about it."
Ms. Plas, who is married to a British man and lives in a three bedroom house valued at an estimated £ 550,000, was inspired to start Clap for Carers after seeing similar events in the Netherlands.
The shard and globe at the top of Madame Tussauds lit up in blue as part of the NHS #LightItBlue campaign
NDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 7: A general view of Madame Tussauds as the London skyline lights up in blue in support of the NHS on January 7, 2021 in London, England. In a renewed gesture of thanks to the NHS staff and volunteers working on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic, the London skyline will feature national landmarks, historic buildings, sports and entertainment venues in a campaign supported by London Mayor Sadiq blue illuminated Khan. (Photo by Chris Jackson / Getty Images)
She added: & # 39; The applause is not canceled. I have neither this authority nor this right, nor do I want to dampen the certainty and unity of those who realize what we stand for and why we created Clap For … in the first place (and chose to bring it back).
"It can and should still happen at 8 p.m. tonight when you choose and individually and personally clap for your heroes. It's up to each person to decide how relevant or rewarding it is for them to attend."
But medics took to Twitter to label the event "worthy and pointless" while urging the public to "just move on, do our job and clean up the mess we find ourselves in".
Other workers said they would rather have a raise and end the abuse, claiming the government wanted people to "feel sorry for us for saying we can't handle it".
NHS nurses were told last month they would have to wait at least until May for a pay raise promised by the government after it was delayed.
But Yazan Masannat, a breast cancer surgeon at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, tweeted, “We really don't want people to clap for us to get our jobs done.
“Just stay at home and avoid getting infected and infecting everyone else, which is more helpful. #ClapForHeroes #CoronavirusUK. & # 39;
Ms. Plas came up with the "spontaneous idea" to show support for frontline workers fighting Covid-19, thinking it could just be her and a few friends sharing the moment on video chat.
Annemarie Plas (pictured in May), 37, who came up with the weekly ritual that ran on Thursdays at 8 p.m. for ten weeks during the initial lockdown, said yesterday it would return
One woman's mother, Ms Plas, said in a statement this afternoon that she now "has no choice but to distance me from the national applause of this evening" but insisted that the event not be canceled
However, it quickly became a national tradition every Thursday at 8 p.m. during the initial lockdown.
Millions of people across the UK lined their thresholds, gathered on sidewalks and stood in their gardens to assist caregivers and frontline workers.
Speaking to BBC News yesterday, Ms. Plas said: “A lot has happened, we are in the third national lockdown and I felt like a lot of other people. I wanted to help in every possible way to see if I could help lift the spirits a little and connect the communities.
"So I thought it was a good idea to bring it back."
Ms. Plas explained that she was now using the term "hero" because "anyone can be a hero".
She continued, “This is just a minor change, because now anyone can be a hero. As I said, we are in a crisis. We are aware of the pressures the NHS and caregivers are under.
“They work around the clock, that's all they can do. People who do different things to show their appreciation.
“I know the applause is just a simple gesture, but I thought it would be nice to bring it back. When we can thank everyone in this way, including the volunteers, the people who protect themselves, the people who obey the rules.
“Everyone plays their part to help us get through such a challenging time again, and I thought the word“ hero ”could mean anyone because we all do our best to get out of it as soon as possible. & # 39;
When asked if the general public was more exhausted with the event than last year, Ms. Plas added: “We now know what a lockdown looks like.
“We still hear that the numbers are rising, and if people have a different feeling about the applause, for example, I fully understand that. I just want to say those who feel they can help in some way. Please join me.
"If you feel you have another way to express your gratitude, do so, but this is for those who wish to join."
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) News (t) Coronavirus (t) London (t) NHS