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London landmarks lit up in blue to celebrate NHS and frontline heroes
7 January 2021, 23:26
Iconic landmarks in London lit up blue in a renewed gesture of thanks to the NHS and frontline workers, but the return of weekly clapping for the "heroes" of the pandemic appeared subdued.
Well-known buildings and sporting and entertainment venues across the capital illuminated in blue on Thursday evening to celebrate the hundreds of workers who have put their lives on the line during the pandemic to help others.
Trafalgar Square, Wembley Arch and the London Eye along the South Bank were among several landmarks that joined the #LightItBlue campaign which began last year.
Blue lights beamed from the spires of The Shard, as well as the globe atop Madame Tussauds.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "It is a very challenging time for our city and nation, and we owe a great debt to our NHS and key workers who are working so incredibly hard to serve our city.
"By lighting up buildings in blue in their honour, our capital is again standing together to thank them for their tremendous efforts.
"These workers deserve our praise and our thanks, and I urge Londoners to continue following the lockdown rules so they can play their part in supporting the NHS and save lives."
London Fire Brigade shared its support on Twitter as it paid tribute to "all those working incredibly hard in a national effort against #Covid19".
It coincided with the revamped Clap for Carers, which was relaunched as Clap for Heroes, on Thursday night which encouraged people to once again applaud outside their homes for "every hero who has played their part through the pandemic".
However, the return of weekly clapping for the "heroes" of the pandemic appeared subdued on Thursday, with the founder opting out too.
Annemarie Plas, who came up with the weekly ritual that ran for 10 weeks during the first lockdown, did not participate in the Clap for Heroes 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."
Once again we took to our doorsteps to #ClapForOurCarers. But clapping isn't enough. They need to be paid properly and given the respect they deserve.— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) January 7, 2021
The vaccine brings us hope, and we thank the NHS workers, army, volunteers and all those supporting the roll out. #ClapForHeroes
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."