Next Sunday 5th July marks the 72nd anniversary of our National Health Service. Following the amazing success of the weekly Clap for Carers, which was well supported each Thursday evening by so many residents of Lytham St. Anne’s, people will be encouraged to reflect on the heroes of the pandemic with family and friends by clapping at 5.00 p.m. on this special Sunday, 5th July
This nationwide clap is supported by NHS Charities Together and the Together Coalition, which was formed by influential figures including Sir Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of the NHS, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby. Many television channels and radio stations have announced that they will also support the occasion by breaking away from normal programming and suspending their programmes. For example, ITV say, ‘In this special moment of national thanks, programming will be temporarily suspended to encourage people up and down the country to assemble for what is being described as the ‘biggest and loudest’ Clap for Carers gathering’. The Clap for Carers founder, Annemarie Plas, is also backing the campaign.
Additionally, on Saturday 4th July, the evening before, people will also be asked to put a light in their windows in remembrance of those lost to the pandemic. Blackpool Tower will be lit up in blue, as will a whole list of prominent buildings, like the Royal Albert Hall, the Wembley Arch and the Shard.
NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens has 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.’
Sir Simon added that he wanted to thank the public, in particular, whose support had meant so much, ‘from the children who put rainbows and NHS signs in their windows, to all those who saved lives by staying at home to slow the spread of this terrible virus’.