Next Clap for Carers 'should be the last', says creator

The end of Clapping for Carers? Dutch yoga teacher who started weekly movement says the next tribute should be the LAST over fears the message is becoming ‘negative’

  • Annemarie Plans said it was better to stop the cacophonous ritual at ‘its peak’
  • She warned ‘the narrative is starting to change’ and that it is being politicised
  • Millions showed their support again for key workers across Britain last night 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A Dutch yoga teacher who started the weekly ‘Clap for Carers’ movement has said next Thursday’s show of support should be the last, amid concerns it has become ‘negative’.  

Now in its ninth week, the event has seen people across the country take to their doorsteps and balconies to show their appreciation for the efforts of those working on the frontline during the coronavirus pandemic.  

Annemarie Plas, a Dutch national living in South London, said she was ‘overwhelmed’ by the support for the cacophonous ritual, but said it was better to stop when it was at ‘its peak’.

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge and Prince Louis of Cambridge clap for NHS carers as part of the BBC Children In Need and Comic Relief ‘Big Night In’ in London on April 23

Prime Minister Boris Johnson once again stood outside Number 10 last night to take part in the tribute

Annemarie Plas, pictured, a Dutch national living in South London, said she was ‘overwhelmed’ by the support for the cacophonous ritual, but said it was better to stop when it was at ‘its peak’

She told the PA news agency: ‘I think it’s good to have the last of the series next Thursday, because to have the most impact I think it is good to stop it at its peak.

‘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.’

However, it was only two months ago that Ms Plas said she wanted to see the gesture taking place every week. 

Millions of Brits have regularly paused to applaud frontline NHS staff, carers and health workers after the coronavirus outbreak.

While they usually take place in people’s gardens, outside their homes and on street corners, yesterday’s tribute was the first time since lockdown restrictions were eased last week that large crowds were spotted at the time of the salute in public parks, such as London’s Clapham Common and Highbury Fields. 

Many have often used the opportunity to showcase their own unique rituals and performances.

Last night, people of all age groups held aloft rainbow-themed props while the sound of banging saucepans again filled streets up and down the country. 

Meanwhile, a convoy of around 80 lorries, many decorated in colourful tributes, travelled from Chatteris to Peterborough City Hospital to demonstrate support.

The truckers had raised some £14,000 for NHS charities even before setting off for the stunt this evening.

In Wales, queues of recovery vehicles sounded their horns as they drove past the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport.

There have been impressive musical displays as well, with people playing everything from the piano and violin to the harp from their front gardens.

An NHS worker reacts at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital during the Clap for Carers last night

People on Clapham Common applaud during the Clap for our Carers campaign in support of the NHS. It is the first time large crowds have been spotted in a park for the salute since lockdown began

A care home worker wears a top and trouser set decorated with elements of the periodic table outside Abbeydale Court Care Home in Hamilton

Sue Blair, left, plays harp and Abby Boynton plays flute during a performance to the neighbourhood in Walthamstow, London

Eye-catching attire was also on show, as Irish dancers dressed up to perform, while others were spotted wearing a series of colourful outfits, including one care worker who donned a top and trouser set decorated with elements of the periodic table.

Elsewhere, in Saltburn-By-The-Sea even cyclists out for some evening exercise were seen taking a short break to show their appreciation.

Next Thursday’s will be the 10th weekly event, which was started as the UK went into lockdown in March, and has seen everyone from members of the royal family to the Prime Minister joining in.

But it has also divided opinion between some who feel empowered and encouraged by the gesture, and others who feel it is patronising – particularly over the Government’s initial decision, later reversed, to charge overseas health and care staff for using the NHS.

Mother-of-one Ms Plas said: ‘A clap is something normal people can do, showing our appreciation.

‘But the power is not with us. We can give them respect but we are not signing the cheque – that falls on another desk.’

Ms Plas suggested resurrecting the clap in 2021 to mark a year since the coronavirus outbreak.

She said: ‘Stopping clapping doesn’t mean we are not still appreciating them.

‘Some people will still want to carry on, so they should.

‘But we will stop and show our support in other ways – there are other initiatives we can support.’

Ms Plash 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.

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