Clap for our Carers: the very unBritish ritual that united the nation

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After nine extraordinary weeks the woman behind the event said Thursday’s should be the last

On Thursday 26 March, Britons stood just inside their front doors, a little unsure if they would be the only ones taking part in a very unBritish ritual. It was three days since Boris Johnson had announced a draconian lockdown, and, in a horrifyingly fearful time, it was not difficult to feel immense gratitude to those health workers risking everything to save lives. But was anyone else really going to turn out to clap?

Few can have predicted the wall of noise that followed that first Thursday night and every Thursday since – the applause rising from doorsteps, the smiles and waves between neighbours who had never previously spoken to each other, the new national ritual that, for many, became the clearest fixed point in the week. Isolated in our homes, we were speaking together as never before.

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