Celebrities join call for a National Thank You Day on July 4

NHS nurse who gave world’s first ever Covid jab is joined by Judi Dench, Michael Sheen and Bear Grylls in call for a National Thank You Day on July 4

  • May Parsons gave the world’s first Covid jab to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan 
  • The matron at University Hospital Coventry said we ‘don’t say thank you enough’ 
  • She proposed that a National Thank You Day should take place on July 4
  • Celebrities including Judi Dench and Michael Sheen have backed the call

The nurse who gave the world’s first Covid-19 vaccination has proposed that a National Thank You Day should take place on July 4.

May Parsons inoculated 90-year-old Margaret Keenan with the first Pfizer/BioNTech jab at University Hospital Coventry on December 8.

Ms Parsons, a matron at the hospital, said she thought ‘we just do not say thank you enough’. 

May Parsons, the nurse who gave the world’s first Covid-19 vaccination to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan (pictured together), has proposed that a National Thank You Day should take place on July 4

Ms Parsons, a matron at University Hospital Coventry, said she thought ‘we just do not say thank you enough’

She told BBC Breakfast: ‘I think it is important that we show appreciation to our colleagues who have turned up and stopped whatever they are doing just to help us.

‘I think it is quite important and this is something I am passionate about as well.’

The campaign has been backed by the likes of actress Dame Judi Dench and astronaut Tim Peake, as well as dozens of organisations including the Scouts, Girlguiding, Royal Voluntary Service, the FA and the Together Coalition.

In a video to launch the campaign today, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, says that he wanted to thank his mother’s carer ‘who has been just so generous’, while adventurer Bear Grylls said that he wanted to thank the Scout volunteers.

The campaign has been backed by the likes of actress Dame Judi Dench and astronaut Tim Peake, as well as dozens of organisations including the Scouts, Girlguiding, Royal Voluntary Service, the FA and the Together Coalition

Actor Michael Sheen thanked his one-year-old daughter, Lyra, who has spent most of her life in lockdown saying she had kept him ‘busy, entertained and sleep-deprived’.

Ms Parsons, who also starred in the video, said : ‘I want to thank my team. They lifted me up when I was tired or a bit low.

‘I am also grateful for the volunteers who came into the hospital and teachers who worked through the height of the pandemic to keep the country going.’

Catherine Johnstone, chief executive at the Royal Voluntary Service, said: ‘Across the country, people have come together to support their communities and these people deserve our heartfelt thanks.’

Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director of the Young Vic theatre, said he is backing the campaign because it ‘just felt beautiful’.

He said: ‘This is a moment where we can say thank you to anyone who has helped, particularly over these last four years, I would say, where we have gone from one body blow to another.

‘I think that, by the time we get to the end of this phase of the lockdown, we are desperately going to want to be close to people and say thank you.’

He added that he wanted to thank everyone who has supported theatre and the arts for ‘just keeping the faith’.

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