1 July 2020

Paralympians join national day of public thanks

ParalympicsGB athletes are throwing their support behind a major expression of public thanks on the birthday of the NHS this Sunday (July 5) at 5pm.

This major country-wide coming together will thank all those who have been helping us through the pandemic and recognise the vital community connections that continue to support us all.

Broadcasters will suspend normal transmissions at 5pm as people across the country pause what they’re doing to think of others.

Everybody will be encouraged to stop what they’re doing and join with others (following social distancing advice of course) in their streets or neighbourhoods to applaud not just the NHS and other key workers but all those who have volunteered or helped keep services and community networks going.

Following the applause organisers hope people will enjoy a drink or a cup of tea and reflect with family, friends and neighbours on the bonds that have sustained us in recent months. It will be a wholly inclusive occasion, with those still shielding also encouraged to take part in any way they feel able to.


Many Paralympians have special messages of thanks to those in the NHS and in the community who have supported them through the pandemic. These include:

Kim Daybell, Para table tennis athlete who stopped full-time training to return to his role as a junior doctor to help with the pandemic. He said:

“Over the past three months I’ve put down my bat and I’ve been working as a doctor at a hospital in North London on a COVID-19 ward helping out on the frontline against Coronavirus.

“I’ve obviously seen the worst of things and it’s been very difficult, but I’ve also seen the best of things. I’ve seen people coming in from the community supporting us bringing in food, bringing in care packages and helping us get through this really tricky time and I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.

“Hopefully next year, looking towards Tokyo 2021, the Olympics and the Paralympics will be something we are all in desperate need of, it will be bringing communities and the world together again. It’s something that seems so far away now but when it comes will be something special.”

Will Bayley, Rio 2016 Para table tennis gold medallist said: “We’re all blown away by what you’ve done Kim during the pandemic.

“I just feel really privileged to have you as a teammate, what you’ve done as a doctor through this time is incredible and I know all the other players and all the support staff think the same.

“I’ll be forever grateful for what you’ve done just as I’m sure all the Great British public is.”

Daybell in action at Rio 2016

Kare Adenegan, multiple Rio 2016 Paralympic Athletics medallist, said: “I felt really connected to the community during this time. It was really nice to see my whole neighbourhood clapping so we could show our appreciation for all the key workers

“Also, I have been able to stay connected to family and friends who are self-isolating through online talks for things like birthdays and it’s been really nice to encourage each other and make sure that we still feel really close despite the fact we are in our own homes.”

David Smith, Rio 2016 Boccia gold medallist, said: “I would like to say thank you to Continuity Care who have provided me with carers throughout lockdown and in particular for Michael who has been my assistant for the whole 14 weeks I’ve been in isolation so far and in total close to 20 weeks. Without them it would have been very difficult for me to have maintained shielding.”

Ellie Robinson, Rio 2016 Paralympic Swimming gold medallist, said: ““I’d like to thank everyone at the Oxford hospital who have helped me as a vulnerable person during this pandemic.

“They’ve offered me a lot of advice, they’ve always been on the end of the phone and they’ve just been checking up on me and it’s just been really nice to know that they’ve been there.”

“I’ve felt connected to the community through Northampton Swimming Club, which is where I swim, and everything they’ve done on Zoom to help us carry on training, but also helping us with skills like cooking and also just general quizzes and games to keep everyone’s spirits up and to keep us all having fun.”

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive, said:

“This year has been the most challenging in NHS history, with staff displaying extraordinary dedication, skill and compassion to care for the 100,000 patients with Covid-19 who needed specialist hospital treatment and many others besides.

“During this testing time our nurses, doctors, physios, pharmacists and countless more colleagues were sustained by the support of the public, not least through the weekly applause for key workers.

“No health service, not even the NHS, could have coped alone with this coronavirus pandemic.

“From bus drivers and teachers to care staff and food retailers and, of course, the public who took action to stay at home to stop infection spreading, everyone played their part.

“The NHS’s anniversary this year not only offers the opportunity for us to say thank you to the nation, but for us all to come together at 5pm to pause and recognise all the work which has taken place in the last months and say a heartfelt thank you.”

/Together is a coalition that everyone is invited to join, from community groups across the country to some of the UK’s best-known organisations. Their aim is to bring people together and bridge divides, to help build a kinder, closer and more connected society. https://together.org.uk/

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