Key moments that shaped the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic

The nationwide applause for healthcare workers on the frontline against coronavirus began its journey in a terraced street in north London on March 18.

Dorothy Boswell, 67, heard her neighbours had been standing on their front doorstep every evening and clapping for the NHS, much to their daughter’s embarrassment.

Ms Boswell, who was self-isolating because of a lung condition, sent a message on a local Facebook group inviting residents to join her in the applause.

“Singing, dancing and musical instruments all welcome – just make sure you keep a house width apart,” she wrote. “9pm on a doorstep near you.”

Eight people joined her on that Wednesday night, and that number doubled that the next day. The event quickly gathered momentum until, just over a week later, the whole country was clapping. 

“It’s a nice punctuation to what, for many people, will be quite strange days,” Ms Boswell told The Telegraph.

“You open your door, see other people, and wave to them. It makes you feel like we’re all in it together.” 

Ms Boswell, a retired counsellor, added that she often took a glass of wine, saucepan and wooden spoon with her to her doorstep. 

“It’s nice to feel like you’re not isolated, and to let off steam – especially for the children,” she said.

“Some of us are banging saucepan lids and a neighbour has a hooter. It’s really lovely.”

However, it was Annemarie Plas, a 36-year-old yoga instructor who launched a national campaign to get Britain to clap for our carers every Thursday at 8pm, after seeing a similar event take off in her native Holland.

Mrs Plas created a social media invite that said: “In these unprecedented times [our carers] need to know that we are grateful.” 

“My friends sent me print screens of people who had posted it,” she said.

“The cherry on the cake [was] Victoria Beckham, willing to open up her reach to spread the message, which made me feel, ‘OK, maybe it’s going to happen’.”

On March 26, the nation stood on its doorsteps banging pots, pans, bin lids and anything else they could get their hands on, and continued to do so every Thursday for the following two months.

The initiative was supported by the Royal family, politicians, footballers and people from all walks of life up and down the country. The final clap was on May 28, as the tightest lockdown measures were eased.

Her Majesty addresses the nation

April 5

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