Ingleton churchwarden and Pop up Pantry creator joins celebrities backing a viral campaign to say ‘Thank You’ across the UK
Tens of thousands of people have signed up to call for a national ‘Thank You’ day on July 4.
With communities in the UK looking forward to enjoying greater freedom to meet and socialise this summer, a campaign to say ‘thank you’ to those in our local communities who helped us though the crisis has received a groundswell of support, especially in Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dales.
The campaign is calling on people to mark the day by getting together with their neighbours, friends and family and joining in a huge nationwide thank-you.
The Thank You day campaign is being led in Yorkshire by Simon Robinson who is the churchwarden at St Mary’s Church. He also set up the Pop up Pantry in the church to help the community and would like to thank all the people and organisations who have lent a helping hand on behalf of others.
Simon said: “During the Lockdown my wife and I identified a need within our local area for a little bit of help and support to families who were struggling.
"We set up a Pop up Pantry in St. Mary’s Church with help from volunteers across all the Christian denominations in the area. Many families in our area rely on the hospitality trade and when that ceased it caused some economic hardship. We were able to start delivering boxes of food both cupboard staples and fresh vegetables to families and individuals on a weekly basis.
“Moving forward we are continuing with the Pop up Pantry and work alongside other Food Banks in the area.
"The people I would like to thank the most are our small independent local traders who carried on in the best way possible throughout the pandemic, the farmers carrying on throughout to ensure food for the country and our local schools who found the most inventive ways to continue schooling our children throughout both at home and in school.”
The idea has been proposed by a small group of people from across the UK including May Parsons, the nurse who delivered the UK’s first Covid vaccination jab in Coventry in December.
May said: “Thank You Day gives me the opportunity to thank all my amazing colleagues working in the NHS and social care. This has been the toughest year of our professional careers, and you have all worked so hard to treat all the sick patients who came through our doors, while delivering the biggest and most successful vaccination programme in NHS history.
“I want to thank the incredible volunteers who gave up their time to support us and those in their communities who needed help. I am so grateful for all the people who kept us going: the school teams who looked after our children, shop staff, transport and delivery workers. We couldn’t have done it without you.
"I am incredibly proud of our staff and our volunteers, and I want to encourage everyone to take part in Thank You Day in any way that you can.”
The invitation from May and others has now been backed by household names including the Archbishop of Canterbury, actor Michael Sheen, astronaut Tim Peake, Paralympian Ellie Simmonds, adventurer Bear Grylls and chef and Big Lunch ambassador Ainsley Harriott.
And the call has the backing of dozens of national organisations including the Scouts, Girlguiding, Royal Voluntary Service, the FA and the Together Coalition. The NHS will be joining in on July 4 too, following the huge public support for the Health Service on its 72nd anniversary over the same weekend last year.
In a video released for the launch of the campaign, celebrities have been saying who they want to thank.
Bear Grylls said: “The last year has been challenging for all of us. But we’ve got through it by pulling together and by helping each other. In fact I believe this crisis has shown us that our communities are much stronger than people think. So one of the few good things to come out of all of this is we each have lots of people to say thank you to. I’ll be saying a huge thank you to my family and to our incredible scout volunteers.
People and organisations across the UK have been coming up with their own ideas for how to make ‘Thank You Day’ special. Plans already in place include:
*Getting together with neighbours for a street party or picnic over a ‘Big Lunch’
*Special Park Runs
*Raising a glass or a cuppa to say ‘Cheers for Volunteers’ at 5pm
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. So many of us want that chance. But it also gives us an opportunity to look forward, to help remind us what matters and how we want to stay connected to each other in the future.”