The organiser of Clap for Carers is calling for a return to the weekly round of applause during England’s third national lockdown – starting from 8pm tomorrow.
Annemarie Plas, from South London, helped Britain thank NHS workers and carers during the first weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, with rounds of applause taking place for 10 weeks.
The Dutch yoga teacher silenced applause at the end of May, saying she feared it had become ‘politicised’.
Today she called for a new event to take its place, Clap for Heroes.
Ten months since organising Clap for Carers, Annemarie Plas has called on Brits to descend on their doorsteps once again, this time to Clap for Heroes
Speaking to BBC News, Ms Plas said: ‘A lot has happened, we are in the third national lockdown and I felt like a lot of other people that I wanted to help in any way I could to see if I can help lift the spirits just a little bit, connect the communities and that’s why I thought it’s a good idea to bring it back.’
Ms Plas explained that she was now using the term ‘heroes’ because ‘everyone can be a hero’.
She continued: ‘That’s just a little change because now everyone can be a hero. As I said we are in a crisis, we are well aware of the pressures that the NHS are under, that carers are under. They are working around the clock, that’s all they can do. People doing different things to show their appreciation.
‘I know that the applause is just a simple gesture but I thought it would be nice to bring back. If we can in this way say thank you to everybody, even the volunteers, people that are shielding, people that are following the rules.
‘Everybody is playing their part to get us through this again in such a challenging time and I thought using the word ‘heroes’ it can mean anybody because we are all doing the best that we can to get out of this as soon as we can.’
When asked if the wider public were more jaded about the event than they were last year, Ms Plas added: ‘We know now what a lockdown looks like. We are still hearing the numbers are going up and up and if people have a different feeling towards for instance the applause I fully understand that. I only want to say those who feel they can help in any way please join me.
‘If you feel like no I want to express my gratitude in another way do that but this is for those who want to join.’
Earlier today Ms Plas tweeted: ‘We are bringing back the 8pm applause, in our 3rd lockdown.
‘I hope it can lift the spirit, of all of us. Carers, teacher, homeschooling parents, those who shield and ALL who is (sic) pushing through this difficult time! Please join & share! #clapforheroes.’
Britons across the country headed out to their streets each Thursday to pay tribute to the hard work of carers and NHS staff during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge and Prince Louis of Cambridge were among the biggest names to support the Clap for Carers initiative.
As he recovered from Covid-19, Boris Johnson was among those to take part in Clap for Carers, standing on the doorsteps of Downing Street to applaud the nation’s efforts.
Prince William and Kate Middleton, joined by their children George, Charlotte, and Louis, all clapped from their home last April.
But with each passing week, there was concern that the message of Clap for Carers was being lost.
One NHS worker told The Bristol Cable last May he found it ‘unsettling’ and said showering praise on healthcare staff meant people ‘cannot ask difficult questions of those ‘leading’ us in this crisis’.
Speaking at the time, Ms Plas called for Clap for Carers to come to an end.
She said: ‘To have the most impact I think it is good to stop it at its peak.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson clapped for carers outside Downing Street. A new initiative, Clap for Heroes, will begin this Thursday, with organisers saying it will honour the sacrifices and hard work of everyone in the country during the Covid pandemic
‘Without getting too political, I share some of the opinions that some people have about it becoming politicised.
‘I think the narrative is starting to change and I don’t want the clap to be negative.’
Ms Plas got the ball rolling on the campaign back in March, when she posted a message online calling for a ‘big applause’ for NHS workers because ‘they need to know we are grateful’.
She then spoke of her shock at seeing millions following suit, while landmarks such as the London Eye, the Wembley Arch, the Shard and Tower Bridge have been lit vivid blue during the emotional salute.