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The weekly applause for front-line NHS staff and other key workers ran for 10 Thursdays during the UK’s first coronavirus lockdown last spring.

Annemarie Plas wanted it back this week under a new name of Clap for Heroes to lift spirits in the new lockdown.

But she now says individuals can decide if it is “relevant and worthwhile”.

The idea of clapping and banging pots from doorsteps originally began as a one-off to support NHS staff on 26 March – three days after the UK went into lockdown for the first time.

After proving popular it was expanded to cover all key workers and continued every Thursday for 10 weeks, with millions of people across the UK taking part.

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Members of the Royal Family and politicians including Prime Minister Boris Johnson also joined in with the show of support.

However, the event faced criticism for becoming politicised, with some suggesting the NHS would benefit more from extra funding than applause.

image copyrightPA Media

On Wednesday, Ms Plas, a 36-year-old mother-of-one, announced the return of the initiative, saying she hoped to “lift the spirit of all of us” including “all who are pushing through this difficult time”.

But some NHS workers were less than enthusiastic. Ami Jones, an intensive care consultant from Wales, tweeted: “No thanks. I’d rather you obey the rules, stay at home, wear masks and wash your hands.”

Please don’t clap us. Just wear a mask, wash your hands and respect lockdown πŸ™ β€” Rachel Clarke πŸ’™ (@doctor_oxford) January 6, 2021

And palliative care doctor Rachel Clarke said: “Please don’t clap us. Just wear a mask, wash your hands and respect lockdown.”

In a tweet posted hours before the weekly clap was due to return, Ms Plas, a Dutch national living in south London, said she had been targeted with personal abuse and threats against her and her family by “a hateful few” on social media.

“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,” she said, in a statement.

She said the newly revived clap could and should still happen at 20:00 GMT “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,” she said.

Related Topics Coronavirus lockdown measures Coronavirus pandemic NHS

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