A yoga teacher has said she is “so grateful and thankful” after her campaign to thank NHS workers went viral.
Annemarie Plas, 36, is encouraging people isolating at home to clap from doors, windows and balconies to show appreciation for the country’s nurses and doctors.
It comes after similar movements were created in Italy, the Netherlands and France to show support for medical staff treating people during the coronavirus crisis.
Ms Plas, who also works in software sales and has no connection to the NHS, saw the videos of people clapping on their balconies and felt inspired, and decided to start a campaign to do the same thing here.
On Friday 20 March, she posted an image on Instagram and forwarded it to her friends on WhatsApp, urging people to “clap for our carers” on Thursday.
By the next day, her post had gone viral and been retweeted thousands of times.
Her posts 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 the 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.”
Since then, it has been shared more than 5,000 times on Instagram and has been backed by David and Victoria Beckham and former Spice Girl Mel C.
Ms Plas, from Brixton, southwest London, told Sky News: “It made me feel really warm inside that I wasn’t the only one that felt like that.
“It’s such a simple message and we take so many things for granted, and now all these freedoms and options are taken away from us, we start to realise [what we have]. It’s a good time to show how thankful we are.”
She added: “To have all these celebrities spread the message to all their followers, I just felt so grateful and thankful.”
Ms Plas said she has since heard from NHS staff who say they are really touched by the gesture.
She said that after the prime minister’s lockdown announcement, she is now hoping to extend the clapping to once a week until the end of May to help bring a “sense of togetherness”.
“I’ve had nurses, family of nurses get in touch with me and say they really appreciate it,” she said.
“I’ve also had other people reach out to me and ask what else we could do to show our appreciation to them, which is really heartwarming. We’re going to see if we can do more after Thursday.”