Celebrities and key workers have backed a campaign for a national "Thank You Day" in honour of all heroes of the pandemic.
With lockdown restrictions set to come to an end on 21 June, the campaign is calling for the country to come together on 4 July to give thanks to all those who have helped in the UK’s fight against coronavirus.
Over the past year, tributes to the NHS have been paid in the form of painted rainbows and a weekly applause but the proposed day of thanks comes after social distancing rules are due to formally end.
Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director of the Young Vic theatre, said he is backing the campaign because it “just felt beautiful”.
Watch: Celebrities back campaign for national 'Thank You Day'
He told BBC Breakfast: “I think that, by the time we get to the end of this phase of the lockdown, we are desperately going to want to be close to people and say thank you.”
The day is intended to thank all those who have made the pandemic more bearable – from NHS staff to key workers to family members.
Other supporters include singers Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Craig David, actor Dame Judi Dench and TV sports presenter Gary Lineker.
May Parsons, a matron at University Hospital Coventry, who administered the first COVID jab, is also backing the event.
She told BBC Breakfast this week: “Basically, I think we just do not say thank you enough.
“I think it is important that we show appreciation to our colleagues who have turned up and stopped whatever they are doing just to help us.
“I think it is quite important and this is something I am passionate about as well.”
However, critics have stated that the idea is “pathetic” and is celebrating people for “doing their jobs”.
Writing in The Times, Giles Coren said: “A big thank you just for being them. It’s pathetic. Are we still in primary school? Are we going to hand out badges and slices of cake?”
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