Coronavirus in the UK: Clap for Heroes has less enthusiastic comeback as founder doesn’t participate
Clap for carers returned on Thursday night with a different name – but met with a less enthusiastic response than before.
During the first lockdown, millions of people across the United Kingdom showed their appreciation for NHS staff and key workers by applauding from windows, doorsteps and balconies.
Clap for Carers returned under new name ‘Clap for Heroes, but even Annemarie Plas – who came up with the weekly ritual that ran for 10 weeks during the first lockdown – did not participate in the event, having distanced herself from the relaunch after being targeted on social media with “hateful” abuse.
Social media and streets up and down the UK were noticeably less noisy, despite the efforts of some who braved the chilly evening weather to bang pots and clap their hands.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer did take part but his message afterwards hinted at why the clapping event may not have been as popular this time around.
“Once again we took to our doorsteps to #ClapForOurCarers,” he tweeted. “But clapping isn’t enough. They need to be paid properly and given the respect they deserve.
“The vaccine brings us hope, and we thank the NHS workers, army, volunteers and all those supporting the roll out.”
Video footage showed that the revival was successful in some areas however. Locals clapped from flats opposite St Thomas’ Hospital in central London in a gesture of thanks to NHS staff dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
But social media users took to Twitter to explain why they had not taken part in the Clap for Heroes event.
“I did clap for all the brilliant people in the front line the last time round, but feel this time they’d appreciate us staying at home! And a pay rise!” wrote one Twitter user.
Another posted: “I’m not clapping tonight, instead I’m going to email my MP @GarySambrook89 and let him know our #clapforheroes people need tangible support in the form of pay rises, PPE and vaccines.”
Event founder Ms Plas, a 36-year-old mother-of-one, said that she had opted to distance herself from the planned applause and “will no longer seek to raise further awareness of it”.
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