Thank You Day: Community events to thank Covid heroeson July 4, 2021 at 7:15 pm

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Interfaith services and roses are used to celebrate people for their work during the pandemic.

Interfaith service in Coventry

image copyrightJulie Siddiqi

Communities across the UK have come together to celebrate all those who gave their time to help people during the pandemic.

Thank You Day saw events take place across the country on Sunday.

Proposed by a small group of people to pay tribute to the unsung heroes of the last year, it has also been backed by a number of celebrities.

In Coventry, an interfaith ceremony was held at the cathedral, while 1,000 roses were handed out in Bradford.

Play at the Wimbledon Championships was suspended as part of the traditional Middle Sunday break, and organisers used it as an opportunity to mark Thank You Day.

Hundreds of people gathered at Wimbledon Park to enjoy free community tennis events.

Tennis event

image copyright Ian Walton/AELTC

Julie Siddiqi MBE, founder of Together We Thrive and one of the original proposers for Thank You Day said: “It was wonderful for me to start Thank You Day at Coventry Cathedral.

“It is a place of special significance and being there with friends from all backgrounds was really inspiring.

“Faith communities have done so much during this past difficult year, we have lots of people to thank.”

The cathedral’s dean, The Very Reverend John Witcombe, said the service was an “inspiring” event and had been “immensely moving”.

Another interfaith service was also held in Smethwick, in Sandwell, with many sports clubs and community groups sharing their support over social media.

Elaine Kavanagh, a senior nursing sister also thanked the community, on behalf of The Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust for their support.

Health Care Assistant Rose Waddington and ninety-eight-year-old resident John Kykot are pictured with "thank you" white roses that were presented to them by the Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin at Norwood House Nursing Home in Keighley, as part of the first-ever national Thank You Day

image copyrightPA Media

She said: “The generosity of the community has been overwhelming.

“The smallest of treats brought the biggest of smiles to our faces, giving us moments of respite in very challenging times.”

Volunteers in Goole helped clean up a green space which provided a sanctuary for people during lockdown, as a way of recognising the importance of such spaces to people’s wellbeing

Rebecca Watkins

Rebecca Watkins, from Clean Goole Campaign Group, said: “It’s been a lifesaver in lockdown for many people to be able to walk out of the town centre and get a bit of breathing space and fresh air.”

The campaign for Thank You Day was started by a small group of people from across the UK, including Debbie Matthew, a stroke survivor from Perthshire, and May Parsons, the nurse who administered the UK’s first Covid jab at University Hospital in Coventry.

Keighley and Worth Valley Railway volunteers Andy Hoyle (left) and Nick Hallewell

image copyrightPA Media

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also hosted a barbecue for community leaders, NHS workers and representatives from the Royal Voluntary Service.

At 17:00, the public are encouraged to raise a drink of their choice to volunteers.

Head Womble Orinoco joined by The Conservation Volunteers during an hour of litter-picking on Wimbledon Common

image copyrightPA Media

Communities secretary, Robert Jenrick MP, said: “This past year has been challenging for us all.

“But in the darkest of times, when people were most in need, the actions of our friends and neighbours to support our communities have shone the brightest.”

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