Incredible moment hundreds of NHS staff applaud man who clapped for them for 40 days in a row

5 June 2020, 11:14

By Charlotte Sullivan

A man who has spent the last 40 mornings clapping staff outside Basildon hospital arrived this week to find them all outside the building, clapping him instead.

Hundreds of people were waiting to surprise Colin Wilkinson on Wednesday, to thank him for his support at the rainbow banner over the month of May.

Mr Wilkinson told LBC News that it all started on the morning of Saturday 25th April when he woke up early and couldn’t sleep.

Hundreds of hospital workers turned out to applaud Colin
Hundreds of hospital workers turned out to applaud Colin. Picture: LBC News

He decided to go to the banner situated at the entrance to the hospital to pray and said “a car went past, I started clapping… another car went past, I clapped again because that’s what we do for the NHS... and I thought well I might as well clap and pray at the same time. Yeah it just went from there basically.”

Colin Wilkinson spent the last 40 mornings clapping staff outside Basildon hospital
Colin Wilkinson spent the last 40 mornings clapping staff outside Basildon hospital. Picture: LBC News

He said he feels he has received a lot more than he’s given out, adding “I give them one clap, one cheer, one wave, one god bless you and I get hundreds coming back… If I’ve brought them a little bit of hope, a little bit of cheer and a smile to the start of their day, hey, it’s all worth it.”

At the presentation outside Basildon Hospital on Wednesday, Mayor David Burton-Sampson presented Mr Wilkinson with a gift while the Lead Chaplain at Basildon Hospital gave Mr Wilkinson a card and thanked him on behalf of staff before leading a prayer.

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Mr Wilkinson told LBC News it was “incredible”.

He said “There were just so many people. I wouldn’t like to guess how many. There were hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people. I felt like I was on a film set… I’ve watched it since and it still really hasn’t sunk it. The impact that doing this has had on people’s lives. It’s a day I will never forget”.

Basildon Mayor David Burton-Sampson said: “The coronavirus pandemic has taken a huge toll on Basildon, the UK, and around the world – and seeing the action of one man, supporting hospital and NHS staff, patients and visitors every day is a tribute to what it takes for us all to get through this crisis.”

Lead Chaplain at Basildon Hospital, Dani Mayo, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by Colin’s dedication and commitment these last 40 days. He’s been welcoming and clapping our staff day in and day out.

“We’ll all hold Colin in our hearts in these days to come, as he’s been a light in the darkest of moments.”

Mr Wilkinson’s vigil has now come to an end and we asked him if he will miss it. He told us “That’s a very good question… Yes and no… Yes I’m going to miss the people because I’ve met so many lovely, beautiful people from the NHS.

"No, because I want this all to end. I want the coronavirus to disappear. That was my prayer.”