By Rachael Grealish
The founder of ‘Clap for Carers’ has released a statement saying she ‘felt no choice’ but to distance herself from the UK event after receiving threats and abuse.
The original clap for carers was launched during the first lockdown where members of the public took to their doorsteps to recognise the work of the NHS and carers with weekly applause.
As the UK slipped back into its third lockdown this week Annemarie Plas, the founder of the event, suggested a new event ‘Clap for Heroes’ to take place from tonight, Thursday January 7, at 8pm.
Last year millions supported the event and in Cumbria a convoy of trucks, lorries and cars took to the streets to show support.
However, many people didn’t take to the news of the applause returning and many seemed against the idea as since the relaunch Plas says she has received threats and abuse from ‘a hateful few on social media channels’.
— Clap For Heroes (@Clapforheroesuk) January 7, 2021
In the statement she wrote: “Irrespective of their views and reasons for believing this is an acceptable way to behave, I did not set out to make a political statement and will not put my loved ones at risk.
“I have no political agenda, I am not employed by the government, I do not work in PR, I am just an average mum at home trying to cope with the lockdown situation. As a consequence I have opted to distance myself from tonight’s planned applause and will no longer seek to raise further awareness of it.”
She added: “I do acknowledge the frustrations and anger felt by some. However vilifying me personally or attempting to destroy the goodwill and positive intentions of the national applause and the millions of people who want to take a few moments on a Thursday evening to think about and acknowledge their pandemic ‘heroes’, is simply destructive and counter intuitive.”
The political aspect Plas speaks of is many people responding to the event with comments about providing correct PPE and pay rises for NHS and key workers.
One person commented: “I will continue to do whatever I can to support our heroes (NHS, teachers etc) but I will not #ClapForHeroes this time. It feels hollow when we have a Govt that ignores paying and treating them properly. I will chase MPs, sign petitions, argue where I can for better recognition”
“I will not be participating in #clapforheroes I’d rather our key workers were awarded with decent pay, PPE, a government that provides proper leadership,” another said.
And a doctor posted on Twitter saying: “Please could I ask you a favour? Instead of clapping for us, could you maybe just stay home for us? And next time, when you have the chance, use your vote for Government who will actually fund the NHS and take care of its staff. Sincerely, NHS staff everywhere.”
But for those excited to take part in the ‘Clap for Heroes’ it still is set to go ahead.
Plas finishes her statement saying: “I don’t have that authority or right and nor do I want to dampen the show of positivity and unity of those who recognise what we stand for and why we created Clap For … in the first place (and opted to bring it back).
“It absolutely can and should still happen at 8pm tonight if you choose and want to clap for your heroes on an individual and personal basis – it’s up to each person to decide how relevant or worthwhile they feel it is to participate.”