Gary Lineker unites with UK sports leaders in special tribute

Former England captain and Match of the Day anchorman Gary Lineker has joined fellow sports leaders across the nation in leading the tributes for “one big final nationwide clap” at 5pm on Sunday to say ‘Thank You’ to the NHS on its landmark anniversary. The coronavirus pandemic meant NHS staff and workers were putting their own lives at risk to help those who had been affected.

The nation had been taking part in a ‘Clap for Carers’ every Thursday at 8pm to show their support to the frontline workers.

The last clap took place on 28 May, but NHS bosses have called for a one-off return from the nation to show their support once again when it marks its 72nd anniversary on Sunday.

The campaign has been backed by bosses in football, cricket and rugby with a number of famous faces set to join in the special tribute.

England rugby head coach Eddie Jones will record a personal thank you along with some of the players while all matches in the English Football League and Premier League will be preceded with a moments applause over the weekend.

Leaders from the The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Premiership Rugby, Team GB and The FA will also support the Thank You Together moment on Sunday.

Gary Lineker said: “It is great to see football, along with cricket and rugby, coming together with the NHS, on its birthday, to thank all the key workers with one big final nationwide clap.

“So at 5pm this Sunday raise a glass, share a cuppa or, dare I say it, watch the football with your neighbours, friends or relatives.

“Applaud all those who are working so hard and sacrificing so much to keep us all going throughout this period.

“But think about how we can all help come together and start to build even better communities and a country we can be even more proud of.”

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said: “As we prepare to stage the first international sporting competition in the UK since Covid-19 began, we want to join with the NHS and the other major sporting bodies to say #ThankYouTogether.

“Throughout the #raisethebat Test Series, we will show our gratitude with players wearing the names of key workers on their training shirts to shine a light on their bravery and sacrifice as fans watch live from home.

“I would also like to pay tribute to the way cricket clubs have responded to this crisis. Despite being unable to play a single game of cricket and in the face of major financial uncertainty, they continue to support their local communities and have together raised over £300,000 since May.

“This crisis has shown us that the spirit of the cricket family is stronger than ever and united, we will come through this.”

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

“Ive obviously seen the worst of things and its been very difficult, but Ive also seen the best of things. Ive 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. Its something that seems so far away now but when it comes will be something special.”

British Paralympic athletes will be posting videos of support with special messages of thanks for those who have helped them personally through the pandemic.

British cycling meanwhile is HSBC UK and a host of other businesses to encourage people to go out for a cycle on Sunday 5th and then stop for the 5pm applause.

Sky Sports will also be promoting and featuring Thank You Together across its broadcasts throughout the weekend of 4 and 5 July.