Lorraine Kelly, Michael Sheen and Katherine Grainger are among host of backers of a viral campaign to say Thank You across the UK this summer
Tens of thousands of people have signed up to call for a national Thank You Day on 4 July.
With communities in Scotland and across the UK looking forward to enjoying greater freedom to meet and socialise this summer, a campaign to say ‘thank you’ to those in our local communities who helped us though the crisis has received a groundswell of support.
The campaign is calling on people to mark the day by getting together with their neighbours, friends and family and joining in a huge nationwide thank-you.
The idea has been proposed by a small group of people from across the UK including May Parsons, the nurse who delivered the UK’s first Covid vaccination jab in December, and Debbie Matthew, a stroke survivor from Scotland.
Together they have issued an open invitation for people to join them, saying:
“Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on so many people, and it’s tested us in ways we never expected. But for many of us, it has also bought us closer together. Closer to our families and to our communities.
“As a country we aren’t always great at saying thank you to each other. But this year, we want to be part of changing that. To choose one day where we all pause to say thank you to each other. To remember what binds us together, not just what pushes us apart.
“We all have different people to thank, from family members to key workers, good neighbours to volunteers.
“So please join us with your friends, neighbours and communities in taking part in the country’s first ever national Thank You Day on 4 July. And let’s say thank you together.”
The invitation from May, Debbie and others has now been backed by household names including presenter Lorraine Kelly, actor Michael Sheen, Olympian Katherine Grainger, astronaut Tim Peake, Paralympian Ellie Simmonds, theatre artistic director Kwame Kei-Armah, adventurer Bear Grylls, presenter Gary Lineker and chef and Big Lunch ambassador Ainsley Harriott.
The call has the backing of dozens of national organisations including the Scouts, Girlguiding, the Together Coalition, and Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland.
The NHS will be joining in on 4 July too, following the huge public support for the Health Service on its 72nd anniversary over the same weekend last year.
TV presenter Lorraine Kelly said: “This is such a wonderful chance to say thank you to all of those in the front line who have been under such enormous pressure to keep us safe.
“A special thank you to our armed forces who have been invaluable in rolling out such a successful, lifesaving vaccine programme, working hand in hand with the NHS, and the utterly brilliant army of volunteers.
“There’s a renewed sense of community that has flourished at a grass roots level thanks to kind, compassionate and generous people. That really is something to be thankful for.”
Debbie Mathew, a 45-year-old stroke survivor from Comrie near Crieff in and Thank You Day proposer said: “After surviving a stroke five years ago, I promised myself I’d grab life with both hands and not let it go.
“I’m so thankful that I’m still here and that I'm still healthy and while it has been a really difficult year for all of us, it has also been amazing to see people rally round to help each other.
“I’m thankful that our neighbours have come together as a community for the first time.
“I wouldn’t have got through the last year without my work, so I’m thankful that my businesses have not only survived but thrived as online businesses.
“Most of all, I’m thankful to my husband Johnny and son Finlay for always being here for me.
“And I can’t wait to see all the family and friends we’ve missed this last year, especially my mum.
“The people we love matter so much to us, and I’m so grateful we’ve made it through this and we can all be together at last.
“So, let’s celebrate all the amazing people in our lives and make 4th July a huge celebration.”
People and organisations across the UK have been coming up with their own ideas for how to make ‘Thank You Day’ special. Plans already in place include:
• Getting together with neighbours for a street party or picnic over a Big Lunch
• Special Park Runs
• Raising a glass or a cuppa to say ‘Cheers for Volunteers’ at 5pm.
A spokesperson for the Together coalition said: “A national Thank You Day gives us all a chance to mark the end of this phase of the crisis and say thank you to everyone who helped us through. So many of us want that chance.
"But it also gives us an opportunity to look forward, to help remind us what matters and how we want to stay connected to each other in the future.”
Jane-Claire Judson, Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland’s chief executive said:
“It's so important that after such a tough year we come together to say thank you.
"We all have a different reason to be thankful and if the pandemic has taught us one thing it is that people, family and friends are so important to us all and we are here to support one another.
“Our staff, volunteers and supporters have all stepped up to help people living with chest, heart and stroke conditions across Scotland and we are so thankful to them all for their amazing efforts.
“We are backing Debbie’s inspirational call to make sure the people that matter in your lives get the recognition they deserve. We want to see everyone across Scotland join together in saying thank you to the people who have got us through.”
In videos released for the launch of the campaign, well-known figures have been saying who they want to thank. Among the many they chose to thank are:
Olympian Katherine Grainger: “Personally I’d like to thank my next-door neighbours, Pam and Derek, who have been there for me every single day of the pandemic and through all the various lockdowns.
“I hope all of you will be joining in on 4 July to say thank you to someone.”
Actor Michael Sheen: “I don’t want this to sound like some terrible Oscar speech but I want to say thank you to our little daughter Lyra who has spent most of her life in lockdown. Thank you Lyra for keeping us busy, and entertained and sleep deprived.”
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout: “I’ll be saying a huge thank you to my family and to our incredible scout volunteers.”