Clap for Carers founder distances herself from ‘Clap for Heroes’ after online abuse

Annemarie Plas said she will no longer raise awareness of the campaign. Credit: PA

The founder of 'Clap for Carers' has announced that she is distancing herself from the relaunched campaign after receiving abuse and threats on social media.

Annemarie Plas, who came up with the weekly ritual that ran for 10 weeks during the first lockdown, had tweeted that the tradition would return on Thursday evening, this time named 'Clap for Heroes'.

But in a statement released on Thursday afternoon, she said: "I feel I have no choice but to distance myself from this evening's national applause at 8pm."

She added: "Clap for Carers has never been a political platform, it was originally established to allow those who wanted to publicly show their support for the NHS and key workers to do so.

"The idea of bringing back the applause was only to bring some optimism and positivity to the country, not to make any political comment about the nation.

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

  • Watch ITV News Correspondent Faye Barker's report about Clap for Heroes:

Ms Plas continued: "I do acknowledge the frustrations and anger felt by some, however vilifying me personally or attempting to destroy the goodwill and positive intentions of the national applause and the millions of people who want to take a few moments on Thursday evening to think about and acknowledge their pandemic heroes, is simply destructive and counter intuitive."

"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," she added.

"As a consequence I have opted to distance myself from tonight's planned applause and will no longer seek to raise further awareness of it," she said.

However, she said that the applause is not cancelled and that she did not want to "dampen the show of positivity and unity of those who recognise what we stand for".

Boris Johnson and members of the royal family took part in Clap for Carers in the Spring. Credit: PA

Ms Plas, a Dutch national living in south London, came up with the “spontaneous idea” as a way to show support for frontline workers battling Covid-19, and thought it might end up being just her and a few friends sharing the moment on video chat.

However, it quickly became a national tradition every Thursday at 8pm during the first lockdown.

Members of the royal family and Prime Minister Boris Johnson also joined in with the show of support.

However, the event was criticised for becoming politicised.

On Wednesday, Ms Plas told PA news agency: "Without getting too political, I share some of the opinions that some people have about it becoming politicised.

"I think the narrative is starting to change and I don’t want the clap to be negative."