Great Britain

Celebs including Bear Grylls and Gary Lineker call for nationwide Thank You Day to praise Covid heroes

A HOST of celebrities including Dame Judi Dench and Gary Lineker are calling for a nationwide Thank You Day as we emerge from the pandemic.

Adventurer Bear Grylls has added his support, as has chef Ainsley Harriott, astronaut Tim Peake, singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor and actors Felicity Kendal and Michael Sheen.

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And today, The Sun is urging YOU, our amazing army of readers, to join in.

Countless acts of kindness have helped see us through this devastating year.

Whether it’s an NHS hero, a volunteer who took groceries to someone shielding, binmen or friends making us smile over Zoom, we all have someone to thank.

The idea, proposed by community leaders across the UK, is to join together with neighbours, friends and families in a huge celebration on Sunday, July 4.

In a video to launch the campaign today, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says he would like to thank the person who cared for his mother for the past year.

He said: “She has been so generous with her time and spirit and care.”

Good Omens actor Michael Sheen, 52, is grateful for his toddler.

He says: “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.”

Sophie Ellis-Bextor, 42, praises her husband, Richard Jones, 42, for his support and for being “an amazing cook,” as well as local people for always saying hello — and the “really smiley, really positive” women in the nearby coffee shop.

And Chief Scout Bear Grylls says: “I’ll be saying a huge thank you to my family and to our incredible Scout volunteers.”

'BROUGHT US CLOSER TOGETHER'

The video also features a matron, school governor and a stroke patient — plus nurses and community volunteers.

Julie, a community volunteer from Slough, says: “I want to thank teachers. As a parent of teenagers I saw how hard their teachers worked.

"And as a governor in two schools I saw it from the other side too, head-teachers and all school staff going above and beyond.”

Emma 16, an Explorer Scout adds: “Our volunteers have been amazing, keeping Scouts going through some of the toughest times.”

Laura Graham, a writer and community activist from Northampton, says: “I’d like to thank my neighbours for their friendly smiles and waves, notes through the door and gifts on the doorstep.”

In a letter on the Thank You Day website, signed by more than 20 high-profile people, the founders wrote: “Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on so many people.

“But for many of us it has also brought us closer together. Closer to our families and to our communities.”

The day aims to “remember what binds us together, not just what pushes us apart”.

It already has the support of tens of thousands of people nationwide, plus national organisations including the Scouts, Girlguiding, Royal Voluntary Service, the Football Association and the Together coalition, a network of community groups.

Catherine Johnstone, CBE, chief executive at Royal Voluntary Service, said: “Thank You Day will give us all an opportunity to show our gratitude to those who have gone above and beyond.”

July 4 was chosen following the huge support for the NHS on its 72nd anniversary on July 5 last year.

The nation’s hopes were lifted in November when Coventry gran Margaret Keenan, 91, became the first person in the world to get a Covid jab, receiving the Pfizer vaccine at the city’s hospital.

Matron May Parsons, 41, who delivered it to her, is one of the leaders who came up with the Thank You Day idea.

The mum of two, from Rugby, said: “It is really important to thank people.

“I want to thank my family because they have supported me so much during this pandemic.

"I want to thank my team. They lifted me up when I was tired or a bit low.

“I am also grateful for the volunteers who came into the hospital and teachers who worked through the height of the pandemic to keep the country going.”

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.”

How you can take part

ORGANISERS are encouraging supporters of the event to come up with their own ideas to mark Thank You Day.

It might be a street party with neighbours or getting together with friends for a picnic in your local park.

Special Park Runs will be held across the country.

Raise a glass or a cuppa to say Cheers for Volunteers at 5pm on Sunday, July 4.

Show your gratitude on social media using the hashtag #thankyouday

The Sun will update you on some of the big events around the country.

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