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Coronavirus Kent: Landmarks that will and won't light up blue as part of Clap for Carers

Key landmarks in Kent will join thousands of households as they take to their doorsteps to applaud NHS workers tonight.

Rochester Cathedral is leading the way by lighting its spire blue - the colour of the health service - not just tonight but every night since March 17.

Rochester Cathedral has been lighting its spire each evening since March 17 Picture: Rochester Cathedral
Rochester Cathedral has been lighting its spire each evening since March 17 Picture: Rochester Cathedral

The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury and Herne Bay clocktower will also light up blue in a salute to the courageous efforts of everyone involved in the nation’s healthcare system.

But others are unable to take part in the Clap for Carers event due to a skeleton staff or because they are closed.

Dover Castle - which is one of English Heritage landmarks which is closed until May 1 amid the pandemic - is one of those.

A spokesman for Dover Castle said: "I know we speak on behalf of everyone here to say that we are incredibly grateful for the work the NHS are doing for us all.

"We would have loved to be involved in this and we have looked into the possibility of doing so. Unfortunately due to the nature of the lighting at Dover we would need to call additional staff members in to facilitate this and therefore would not be able to carry this out without going against NHS guidance and government measures on social distancing.

Dover Castle will not light up because it would require additional staff to help facilitate it
Dover Castle will not light up because it would require additional staff to help facilitate it

"The health and wellbeing of our staff is paramount as I’m sure you understand.

"At this time we feel that the best way to support the NHS is to follow their guidelines and government measures on social distancing.

"We are very open to considering ways in which we can help demonstrate everyone’s gratitude to the NHS in future."

Despite efforts, Canterbury Cathedral is also unable to take part.

A spokesman said: "The community of Canterbury Cathedral will be showing its appreciation for the NHS and the heroic work of frontline staff at 8pm tonight online, as unfortunately, the Cathedral's near-50-year old floodlighting does not permit the colour of the lights to be changed.

Canterbury Cathedral will not light up blue because its floodlighting does not permit the colour of the lights to be changed
Canterbury Cathedral will not light up blue because its floodlighting does not permit the colour of the lights to be changed

"We had been investigating alternative solutions since last week but nothing safe or practicable is possible.

"The nationwide closure of all Church of England buildings to reduce the spread of coronavirus means we are not able either to invite our bellringers on site to ring the Cathedral’s bells."

Gravesend’s landmark clock tower will miss tonight's event but will be illuminated in blue from next week.

It will remain lit up each night from dusk to dawn, Cllr John Burden, leader of Gravesham Borough Council, has said.

He added: “We are all so grateful to the staff across the NHS, but especially here in north west Kent, who are providing care and comfort for so many in such trying circumstances. This is our way of showing that we stand with you all.”

Dartford and NHS Gravesham Trust have described the initiative as "lovely" following today's announcement.

A spokesman added: "We have been humbled by the generosity and support from our local community. People have been volunteering to help out and businesses have been delivering food and donations.

"In these uncertain and troubling times, it is so reassuring to know that so many people are behind us and value our contribution to the community we are proud to serve.

"Thank you to Gravesham Borough Council for your kind words. It is a real boost to our brave and committed family of healthcare workers during these most frightening and challenging of times for us all."

P&O cruise ship, Aurora, currently laying over in Dover will be putting on some blue lighting and sounding their horn to mark the occasion.

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Nationally, those taking part include the Royal Albert Hall and Lincoln Cathedral.

Clap for our Carers will take place at 8pm tonight.

The initiative was launched by yoga teacher Annemarie Plas to thank all doctors, nurses, pharmacists, GPs and NHS staff working hard to help those affected by Covid-19.

She shared a post on Instagram urging people to 'clap for carers' and the message was shared thousands of times across social media.

People will clap from their gardens, living rooms, front door steps and balconies to show their support for frontline staff.

If your neighbourhood will be joining in, send in your videos and pictures to news@thekmgroup.co.uk

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent


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