Dozens of iconic buildings across Britain have been lit blue this weekend as part of the celebrations for the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the NHS.
This weekend marks the biggest thanks, not only to the National Health Service and key workers, but also to all those in the community whose support has helped us overcome the pandemic.
The events will culminate with national applause at 17:00 on Sunday, when people are asked to go out again or stop what they are doing (following the social distance rules) to applaud and then pass a some time with neighbors and friends to reflect on those connections that continue to strengthen our communities as we move on to the next phase of the crisis.
The British put a candle or light in their window to remember everyone we lost to Covid-19.
At 8:00 pm the Dean of St. Paul lit a candle on the West End porch of London Cathedral.
Landmarks across the country have been illuminated in NHS blue, supported by the #LightItBlue campaign.
Downing Street number 10 is lit and a candle is placed on the threshold to remember the hundreds of key workers who listed their lives during the pandemic.
Windsor Castle, where the Queen currently resides, is also illuminated in blue tonight.
Kenilworth Castle is another building that pays homage to the NHS. They tweeted: “Tonight, we are supporting the NHS and the Moment of Remembrance of Together. We remember those we have lost and pay tribute to the NHS staff, key workers and all those who played their part during the pandemic. # Lightitblue # thankyoutogether. “
The famous clock at London’s Waterloo station is also illuminated in blue, the color of the NHS.
Lord’s Cricket Ground tweeted: “Tonight we’re lighting the blue pavilion. On @NHSEngland’s birthday weekend, we’re joining other landmarks from across the UK to #LightItBlue as we remember the ones we sadly lost during the pandemic” .
The Eden Project in Cornwall, the windmill in Lytham St Annes in Lancashire, the arch at the Wembley Stadium and the Royal Albert Hall are other iconic places to illuminate even the blue tonight.
And across the country, members of the public lit candles and put them on the windows to pay homage to our heroes.
One person tweeted: “# NeverForgotten # LightItBlue for those we loved and lost because of COVID 19.”
Another said: “Remembering the ones we sadly lost during the pandemic. Shining a light in my window # LightItBlue # ThankYouTogether.”
“Thinking of everyone who is no longer with us … Light a candle # LightItBlue # NHS72 # NHSBirthday,” said another.
The Covid-19 epidemic has been the biggest challenge that the NHS has faced since it was founded on July 5, 1948.
Premier League stars and match officials applauded health workers and other key workers before the games started on Saturday afternoon.
Sunday at 17:00, the broadcasters will suspend normal broadcasts to encourage everyone to stop what they are doing and to join with others (obviously following the social distance advice) in their streets or in their neighborhoods to applaud not only the NHS and other key workers, but all those who volunteered or helped keep community services and networks active.
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS CEO, said: “This year has been the most challenging in the history of the NHS, with a staff that has shown extraordinary dedication, competence and compassion in taking care of the 100,000 COVID-19 patients who had need specialized hospital care and many more besides.
“During this test period, our nurses, doctors, physicists, pharmacists and countless other colleagues were supported by public support, including through weekly applause for key workers.
“No health service, not even the NHS, could have done it alone with this coronavirus pandemic.
“From bus drivers and teachers to support staff and food retailers and, of course, to the public who took steps to stay home to stop the spread of the infection, everyone did their part.
“The birthday of the NHS this year not only offers the opportunity for us to thank the nation, but for all of us to get together at 5:00 pm to pause and recognize all the work that has been done in recent months and to thank you.”
The applause for assistants at 20:00 on Thursday evening became a ritual established during the Covid-19 plague – and a focal point for unity between neighbors, roads and entire cities.
The idea for this weekend’s tribute came from the new Together coalition, which includes the CBI, trade unions, scouts and leaders.
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, said: “My sincere hope is that this weekend will serve as a powerful moment of remembrance, thanksgiving and connection, as we get together and are committed to helping to create kinder, closer and more connected communities. “.
Other supporters include UK Sport, Clap for Carers founder Annemarie Plas and Baroness Doreen Lawrence.
Ruth May, nursing director in England, said: “Throughout its history, the NHS has brought the whole country together, treating everyone on the basis of need and not the ability to pay.
“So we are honored that the Together coalition chose the SSN’s birthday to reunite the country.”
Kwame Kwei-Armah, director of the young Vic, said: “At a time when there is so much emphasis on what divides us, thanking and connecting with our communities is one of the things that unites us.”
The last official Clap for Carers event was held on May 28th.
For the ten consecutive weeks, people across the UK have crossed the thresholds, gathered – as they socially walked away – on the sidewalks and stood in their gardens to demonstrate their support for caregivers and workers in first line.
Annemarie Plas, founder of Clap For Our Carers, said : “I really hope everyone leaves the house or stops what they are doing once again at 17:00 on Sunday to thank them.
“Not only to all healthcare professionals and healthcare professionals, but also to all members of our community who have gathered in support in recent months.”