Public urged to raise £5m for NHS staff with One Million Claps appeal

Kevin Rawlinson
Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

People taking part in the “clap for carers” are being urged to also show their appreciation for health workers fighting the Covid-19 pandemic by donating to a charitable appeal seeking to raise at least £5m for NHS staff.

For the last two weeks, people throughout the country have been leaning out of windows, standing in gardens and on balconies to join in a nation round of applause for the key workers the country has prevailed upon to help it through the pandemic.

Together with the third such show of appreciation on Thursday, NHS Charities Together is asking people to text “clap” to 70507, which will trigger a £5 donation, along with a message of support.

Organisers of the “One Million Claps” appeal are asking for at least a million people to donate £5 by text message to fund food deliveries, overnight stays, kits and travel costs.

A short film has been produced to promote the campaign, voiced by the entertainer and writer David Walliams, which features a version of the Queen song We Will Rock You with its lyrics amended to “NHS, we love you; We say, we say, thank you”.

“Like everyone else, I’ve been incredibly moved by the millions of us showing our public support for our health service over the last two Thursday evenings,” said Ellie Orton, chief executive of NHS Charities Together, which sends donations to about 140 NHS charities in England, Scotland and Wales.

“I really hope One Million Claps inspires those who can to give a donation that will make a real difference to the amazing staff and volunteers who are daily saving lives and battling against this horribly virus on our behalf,” she said.

NHS Charities Together is running a national Covid-19 urgent appeal and, in recent days, the organisation has raised money from bookmakers who profited from last Saturday’s “virtual Grand National”.

It was also announced on Wednesday evening that the 20 captains of Premier League football clubs had reached agreement on the formation of a charitable fund in partnership with NHS Charities Together that seeks donations totalling £4m.

In addition, Dame Vera Lynn and Katherine Jenkins have recorded a duet of We’ll Meet Again, inspired by the Queen’s address to the nation on Sunday that made reference to the song. Money raised by the single will go to the same organisation.