clap for nhs

The Story Behind the NHS Clap, and Why we Must Keep the Tradition Alive

At 8pm on every Thursday since the 26th March, members of the public up and down the country have walked out of their houses, stood on their balconies, and squeezed themselves out of windows in solidarity in order to show their thanks and appreciation for NHS staff in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

People have clapped their hands, cheered, rung bells, and even clanged together pots and pans in a unified act of appreciation.

But where did the idea for the NHS applause come from? And will the NHS clap continue at the same time every week?

Residents of Southam, Warwickshire, gather outside to cheer on and applaud NHS workers. One woman rings a bell, and a man shakes a percussion instrument.
[Image: PA, Metro]

The Clap for Carers campaign began in March, and started as the brainchild of a Dutch woman living in London. Annemarie Plas came up with the idea while talking about a similar, smaller-scale initiative in The Netherlands as she had a virtual drink with her friends over Skype.

…we must work together to keep the momentum for this campaign alive.

“They only did it once” Plas said, “but I heard how much it lifted them up”. As soon as the thought struck her, she began whipping up a graphic which included the now-recognisable logo, along with all the key information (Thursday at 8pm). She then typed up a simple but clear message. It read: please share this. She sent it out to every contact she had, across all her social media profiles.

From there, the idea snowballed. “That was Friday night and then the next day by lunchtime all of a sudden Victoria Beckham had it on her Instagram page,” said Plas.  

People have clapped their hands, cheered, rung bells, and even clanged together pots and pans in a unified act of appreciation.

Residents of the UK, from Land’s End to John o’ Groats, came together that Thursday to collectively bring the house down in a display of appreciation for key workers, including doctors, nurses, parademics, delivery drivers and other staff who were working to keep people safe during the national crisis.

One Newcastle resident emotionally applauds outside her house.
[Image: EMPICS Entertainment, Metro]

This tradition has been continued for three consecutive weeks. Now, as the national death-toll continues to rise, and staff work tirelessly to protect the public (simultaneously putting their own lives at risk) it is more important than ever that we keep this tradition up.

With Easter weekend serving as a minor distraction for many who have spent the last few weeks of lockdown transfixed by ongoing developments in coronavirus news, we must work together to keep the momentum for this campaign alive.

…it is more important than ever that we keep this tradition up.

We are urging all our readers to join in with the applause this Thursday, at 8pm. Go outside, keep at a safe distance, and put your hands (or pans) together for the people who are risking their lives to protect ours.

Staff at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, briefly pause to celebrate the thanks in the midst of another busy shift.
[Image: Getty Images, Metro]
Written by
Luna Williams
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