Clap For Our Carers: How thousands of Britons thanked the NHS with a national round of applause

Verity Bowman

The Clap For Our Carers campaign has brought together the nation tonight to thank NHS workers who are tirelessly battling the coronavirus pandemic. 

On Thursday night, Britons applauded those looking after our loved ones from their windows, doorsteps or balconies. 

The message has been circulating widely on social media and hundreds of thousands of people across the UK participated. 

Who joined in?

Thousands of Britons joined in the show of support for the NHS, from celebrities to royals to sports stars. Hundreds of videos of people clapping immediately flooded social media:

Some people banged on pots and pans for some extra oomph:

Even the dogs were getting involved in Catford, south London: 

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak led the nation's applause from Downing Street:

James Bond also joined in - Daniel Craig and his partner Rachel Weisz sent a video of them clapping, along with stars of the film series:

England Women's football team - aka the Lionesses - also showed their appreciation:

How the Royal Family joined in

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis stayed up late to join their parents in applauding Britain's NHS workers. The young Cambridges, who are at home in Norfolk, joined the nation to thank those helping to battle the coronavirus pandemic. 

Kensington Palace shared a video of them getting involved:

The Royal Family tweeted a video of the clapping from Windsor Castle:

The Queen's Household Cavalry posted a video paying tribute to NHS "heroes":

Earlier in the day, the Royal Family's social media team had shared information about the #ClapForCarers movement, along with a countdown clock to encourage followers to join in.

They said on Twitter that they were "enormously thankful" for the work of NHS carers:

What about #LightItBlue?

Landmarks across the country are lit up with blue for the salute, including the Wembley Arch, the Principality Stadium, the Royal Albert Hall and Lincoln Cathedral. This tribute is part of the #LightItBlue campaign, organised by members of the entertainment and events industry to say thank you.  

How to thank the NHS with tonight's Clap for Carers - REUTERS 

MV Ventura, a cruise ship docked in Southampton, was lit up with a message:

MV Ventura, a cruise ship docked in Southampton, lit up a message - Naomi Baker/Getty Images

How did people join in?

Most got on their doorstep, garden, balcony or even leaned out of the window. 

Some went the extra mile, livestreaming their participation on social media channels with with the caption #clapforourcarers.

The Clap For Our Carers campaign poster reads: “During these unprecedented times they need to know that we are grateful.

"Please join us on: 26th March at 8pm for a big applause (from front doors, garden, balcony, windows, living rooms, etc) to show all nurses, doctors, GPs and carers our appreciation for their ongoing hard work and fight against the virus.

"Please share this message, so we can make sure the word spreads and reaches all to join!"

Why did people do it?

The organisers of the campaign - which started online - say they decided to stage it because "during these unprecedented times they (NHS staff) need to know we are grateful".

They say our frontline medical personnel face an unprecedented challenge and the best thing we can do in return, other than staying at home, is thank those risking their own health to help others. 

Recently retired personnel, as well as students nearing the end of their training, are expected to join forces tackling the pandemic and deserve our thanks for doing so. 

Other countries under lockdown - including Spain and Italy - have already done similar displays to thank medical staff, applauding and cheering from their windows.