Clap for Carers founder distances herself from return of weekly ritual

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The founder of Clap for Carers has distanced herself from the newly relaunched Clap for Heroes after being targeted with “hateful” abuse on social media.

Annemarie Plas, a 36-year-old mother-of-one, said that although the clap should still go ahead at 8pm on Thursday, she had opted to distance herself from the planned applause and “will no longer seek to raise further awareness of it”.

In a statement, released on the Clap for Heroes Twitter page, she said: “Since announcing the return of the applause yesterday, I have been targeted with personal abuse and threats against myself and my family by a hateful few on social media channels.

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“Irrespective of their views and reasons for believing this is an acceptable way to behave, I did not set out to make a political statement and will not put my loved ones at risk.

Annemarie Plas, founder of the Clap For Our Carers organisationAnnemarie Plas, founder of the Clap For Our Carers organisation
Annemarie Plas, founder of the Clap For Our Carers organisation

“I have no political agenda, I am not employed by the Government, I do not work in PR, I am just an average mum at home trying to cope with the lockdown situation.”

The return of the weekly ritual has been met with a mixed response online, with some NHS workers asking people not to clap, and just stay at home.

Ami Jones, an intensive care consultant from Wales, tweeted in response to the announcement of the newly revived clap: “No thanks. I’d rather you obey the rules, stay at home, wear masks and wash your hands.”

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Palliative care doctor Rachel Clarke added: “Please don’t clap us. Just wear a mask, wash your hands and respect lockdown.”

Ms Plas, a Dutch national living in south London, said the tradition was never meant to be a “political platform”.

The statement continued: “The idea of bringing back the applause was only to bring some optimism and positivity to the country, not to make a political comment about the state of the nation.

“It has never been the intention of either myself or Clap For Our Carers/Clap For Heroes to lobby government or suggest that clapping is a substitute for anything else.

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“If people want to make a statement about the world we live in or have a desire to instigate change in our systems, there are ways to do it.

“I would be delighted if other people talking about the applause opens up dialogue and debate, and gives them a voice and impetus to discuss and engage in positive conversations and actions around wider, related subjects.”

She said she acknowledged the frustrations and anger felt by some but vilifying her personally was “destructive and counter-intuitive”.

“It absolutely can and should still happen at 8pm tonight if you choose and want to clap for your heroes on an individual and personal basis — it’s up to each person to decide how relevant or worthwhile they feel it is to participate,” she said.

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