Clap for Carers founder distances herself from return of weekly ritual

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.

"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.

"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."

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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Thousand of Brits join clap for carers
Staff from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital join in a national applause for the NHS as people across the country showed their appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
Handout photo of the screens in London's Piccadilly Circus saluting local heroes during Thursday's nationwide Clap for Carers NHS initiative to applaud NHS workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic, when landmarks across the UK will be lit blue.
Heidi, Megan and Evan French of St Johns Avenue in Syston, Leicestershire joins in nationwide show of support for the NHS with 'Clap For Our Carers'
Residents of St Johns Avenue in Syston, Leicestershire join in nationwide show of support for the NHS with 'Clap For Our Carers'
Jane Turner of St Johns Avenue in Syston, Leicestershire joins in nationwide show of support for the NHS with 'Clap For Our Carers'
Heidi and Megan French of St Johns Avenue in Syston, Leicestershire joins in nationwide show of support for the NHS with 'Clap For Our Carers'
Residents of St Johns Avenue in Syston, Leicestershire join in nationwide show of support for the NHS with 'Clap For Our Carers'
Residents of St Johns Avenue in Syston, Leicestershire join in nationwide show of support for the NHS with 'Clap For Our Carers'
RETRANSMITTING AMENDING LOCATION People in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, join in a national applause for the NHS from their doorsteps, windows and balconies to show their appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)
The P&O cruise ship Aurora off the White Cliffs of Dover spells NHS in lights, as peope join in a national applause for the NHS from their doorsteps, windows and balconies to show their appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
RETRANSMITTING AMENDING LOCATION People in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, join in a national applause for the NHS from their doorsteps, windows and balconies to show their appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)
The P&O cruise ship Aurora off the White Cliffs of Dover spells NHS in lights, as people join in a national applause for the NHS from their doorsteps, windows and balconies to show their appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, - MARCH 26: The Wembley arena is lit up thanking the NHS on March 26, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The "Clap For Our Carers" campaign has been encouraging people across the U.K to take part in the nationwide round of applause from their windows, doors, balconies and gardens at 8pm to show their appreciation for the efforts of the NHS as they tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, - MARCH 26: The Wembley arch is lit up in blue thanking the NHS on March 26, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The "Clap For Our Carers" campaign has been encouraging people across the U.K to take part in the nationwide round of applause from their windows, doors, balconies and gardens at 8pm to show their appreciation for the efforts of the NHS as they tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, - MARCH 26: Wembley way is seen thanking the NHS on March 26, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The "Clap For Our Carers" campaign has been encouraging people across the U.K to take part in the nationwide round of applause from their windows, doors, balconies and gardens at 8pm to show their appreciation for the efforts of the NHS as they tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, - MARCH 26: Barbara Leigh, aged 93, (second left) rings a bell for the NHS, with her family who are all staying together throughout the lockdown, from their front garden across the road from Wythenshawe Hospital on March 26, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. The "Clap For Our Carers" campaign has been encouraging people across the U.K to take part in the nationwide round of applause from their windows, doors, balconies and gardens at 8pm to show their appreciation for the efforts of the NHS as they tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A police officer joins staff from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in a national applause for the NHS as people across the country showed their appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
Staff from the Royal Liverpool University Hospital join in a national applause for the NHS as people across the country showed their appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
Staff outside the Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, east London, during the national applause for the NHS, from people's doorsteps, windows and balconies to show their appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images)
Members of the public take to balconies for a period of applause in Glasgow, Scotland on March 26, 2020, as a sign of public admiration for the National Health Service (NHS). - Hospital bosses and doctors on Thursday warned of being swamped with a "tsunami" of COVID-19 patients in London, as Britain braced for a peak in cases and the government faced calls to urgently provide specialist kit and tests for frontline health workers. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, - MARCH 26: People applaud the NHS from their balconies and gardens across the road from Wythenshawe Hospital on March 26, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. The "Clap For Our Carers" campaign has been encouraging people across the U.K to take part in the nationwide round of applause from their windows, doors, balconies and gardens at 8pm to show their appreciation for the efforts of the NHS as they tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, - MARCH 26: People applaud the NHS from their balconies and gardens across the road from Wythenshawe Hospital on March 26, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. The "Clap For Our Carers" campaign has been encouraging people across the U.K to take part in the nationwide round of applause from their windows, doors, balconies and gardens at 8pm to show their appreciation for the efforts of the NHS as they tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, - MARCH 26: People applaud the NHS from their balconies and gardens across the road from Wythenshawe Hospital on March 26, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. The "Clap For Our Carers" campaign has been encouraging people across the U.K to take part in the nationwide round of applause from their windows, doors, balconies and gardens at 8pm to show their appreciation for the efforts of the NHS as they tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, - MARCH 26: People applaud the NHS from their balconies and gardens across the road from Wythenshawe Hospital on March 26, 2020 in Manchester, United Kingdom. The "Clap For Our Carers" campaign has been encouraging people across the U.K to take part in the nationwide round of applause from their windows, doors, balconies and gardens at 8pm to show their appreciation for the efforts of the NHS as they tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
People step out into the street for a period of applause in Blackpool, north-west England on March 26, as a sign of public admiration for the National Health Service (NHS). - Hospital bosses and doctors on Thursday warned of being swamped with a "tsunami" of COVID-19 patients in London, as Britain braced for a peak in cases and the government faced calls to urgently provide specialist kit and tests for frontline health workers. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
People step out into the street for a period of applause in Blackpool, north-west England on March 26, as a sign of public admiration for the National Health Service (NHS). - Hospital bosses and doctors on Thursday warned of being swamped with a "tsunami" of COVID-19 patients in London, as Britain braced for a peak in cases and the government faced calls to urgently provide specialist kit and tests for frontline health workers. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 26: Residents of the Tulse Hill Estate in South London come out onto their balconies to applaud NHS staff fighting the virus on March 26, 2020 in London, England. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 26: Residents of the Tulse Hill Estate in South London come out onto their balconies to applaud NHS staff fighting the virus on March 26, 2020 in London, England. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 26: The SSE Hydro is lit up blue for NHS staff for all their hard work during the outbreak on March 26, 2020 in Glasgow, United Kingdom. The "Clap For Our Carers" campaign has been encouraging people across the U.K to take part in the nationwide round of applause from their windows, doors, balconies and gardens at 8pm to show their appreciation for the efforts of the NHS as they tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
People in Woodford Green, London, join in a national applause for the NHS from their doorsteps, windows and balconies to show their appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images)
People in flats opposite the St James's University Hospital in Leeds, join in a national applause for the NHS from their balconies to show their appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
RETRANSMITTING ADDING BYLINE People pause in the street in Wapping Wharf, Bristol, come out onto their balconies to join in a national applause for the NHS from their doorsteps, windows and balconies to show their appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
RETRANSMITTING ADDING BYLINE People in Wapping Wharf, Bristol, come out onto their balconies to join in a national applause for the NHS from their doorsteps, windows and balconies to show their appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)
Staff outside the St James's University Hospital in Leeds, wave to people applauding them from their balconies, during the national applause for the NHS, from people's doorsteps, windows and balconies to show their appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
SALTBURN BY THE SEA, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 26: Residents in Saltburn By The Sea come out of their homes to hold a mass applause to show support for NHS staff and front line medical workers as the UK adjusts to life under the Coronavirus pandemic on March 26, 2020 in Saltburn By The Sea, United Kingdom. Organisers of Clap for our Carers have asked the public to show their appreciation for the doctors, nurses, GPs, emergency workers and pharmacists involved in helping care for those affected by Covid-19 and other sick patients. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to at least 198 countries, claiming over 21,000 lives and infecting more than 470,000 people. There have now been 9,529 diagnosed cases in the UK and 465 deaths. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
SALTBURN BY THE SEA, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 26: Residents in Saltburn By The Sea come out of their homes to hold a mass applause to show support for NHS staff and front line medical workers as the UK adjusts to life under the Coronavirus pandemic on March 26, 2020 in Saltburn By The Sea, United Kingdom. Organisers of Clap for our Carers have asked the public to show their appreciation for the doctors, nurses, GPs, emergency workers and pharmacists involved in helping care for those affected by Covid-19 and other sick patients. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to at least 198 countries, claiming over 21,000 lives and infecting more than 470,000 people. There have now been 9,529 diagnosed cases in the UK and 465 deaths. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) and Chancellor Rishi Sunak outside 10 Downing Street, London, joining in with a national applause for the NHS to show appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
Nick and Karen Giddens and their dog Macy in Leicester join in a national applause for the NHS from their doorsteps, windows and balconies to show their appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND- MARCH 26: Residents in a Northampton street applaud in support of the NHS on March 26, 2020 in Northampton, United Kingdom. The "Clap For Our Carers" campaign has been encouraging people across the U.K to take part in the nationwide round of applause from their windows, doors, balconies and gardens at 8pm to show their appreciation for the efforts of the NHS as they tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 26: Members of the public clap outside their homes on March 26, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The "Clap For Our Carers" campaign has been encouraging people across the U.K to take part in the nationwide round of applause from their windows, doors, balconies and gardens at 8pm to show their appreciation for the efforts of the NHS as they tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
NHS staff respond as people in Blackpool join in a national applause for the NHS from their doorsteps, windows and balconies to show their appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND- MARCH 26: Residents in a Northampton street applaud in support of the NHS on March 26, 2020 in Northampton, United Kingdom. The "Clap For Our Carers" campaign has been encouraging people across the U.K to take part in the nationwide round of applause from their windows, doors, balconies and gardens at 8pm to show their appreciation for the efforts of the NHS as they tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Mia Wilson aged 12 from Long Eaton, Derbyshire joins in a national applause for the NHS from their doorsteps, windows and balconies to show their appreciation for all NHS workers who are helping to fight the Coronavirus. (Photo by Scott Wilson/PA Images via Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND- MARCH 26: Residents in a Northampton street applaud in support of the NHS on March 26, 2020 in Northampton, United Kingdom. The "Clap For Our Carers" campaign has been encouraging people across the U.K to take part in the nationwide round of applause from their windows, doors, balconies and gardens at 8pm to show their appreciation for the efforts of the NHS as they tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, - MARCH 26: 'MV Ventura', a Grand-class cruise ship of the P&O Cruises fleet, docked at Southampton Docks shows its support for the NHS by lighting up rooms on the cruise ship to spell '#I LOVE NHS' on March 26, 2020 in Various Cities, United Kingdom. The "Clap For Our Carers" campaign has been encouraging people across the U.K to take part in the nationwide round of applause from their windows, doors, balconies and gardens at 8pm to show their appreciation for the efforts of the NHS as they tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 20,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
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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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