It was a situation replicated across the country with the 'Clap for Our Carers Campaign' seeing hundreds of thousands of people show their unanimous appreciation for the dedicated efforts of doctors, nurses and other care workers on the pandemic front line.
Martin Rowe, 66, from Southsea, said; ‘I wanted to come out tonight to show my appreciation for all our Key Workers who are helping to keep the country going. I think it’s absolutely brilliant what they are doing.’
Wife, Theresa Rowe, 63, added: ‘I hope this show of support can give them some encouragement and help boost morale.’
In addition to the clapping, fireworks exploded into the night sky and ships in the harbour sounded their horns in a show of united solidarity against the threat of the potentially deadly disease.
Zoe Farrow, 43, was keen to stress the show of gratitude was for all those working on the front line to help others.
‘It’s not just the NHS staff but all those people who don’t have a choice but to continue what they are doing to help us. All the teachers, delivery drivers and supermarket workers.
‘I intend to do this every week and I’m sure they all appreciate it. One positive to come out of this terrible situation is the real community spirit to support each other,’ she said.
Queen Alexandra Hospital matron, Bev Vaughan, 58, who has come out of retirement for the third time to help in the fight to beat the disease, said staff were ‘overwhelmed’ by the show of support and that it was ‘very emotional to see’ people’s backing.
Bev said: ‘This is such a great show of support for all emergency staff – not just those from the NHS. It’s great to see people appreciate what we do. I retired for a second time in June but I wanted to come back and use my skills to support people on the front line.’
Bev is confident that with the backing of the public, the NHS can deal with the pandemic escalation in the coming weeks.
‘We now have the personal protective equipment (PPE) in place and people should rest assured we’ve got this covered – we can beat this virus,’ she said.
However, Portsmouth South MP, Stephen Morgan, feels more needs to be done to ensure the safety of critical workers.
In a letter to the prime minister, Mr Morgan said: ‘As the nation prepares for another show of appreciation for staff working relentlessly to combat coronavirus, much more needs to be done to allow them to conduct their work safely and effectively during this crisis.’
Mr Morgan cited a lack of PPE and widespread testing of NHS staff as his primary concerns.
The movement of support, which is now scheduled to take place each week, was launched by Londoner, Annemarie Plas, after seeing a similar tribute in her homeland of the Netherlands.'