Thousands sign up to ring a bell at 6pm on Christmas Eve

Thousands sign up to ring a bell (or bang a saucepan) at 6pm on Christmas Eve to spread ‘hope and togetherness’ before phoning isolated neighbours and relatives

  • The campaign is backed by the Prime Minister and his fiancée Carrie Symonds
  • More than 445,000 have signed up to take part in the event through Facebook
  • Mary Beggs-Reid, from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, started the online campaign

Thousands will ring a bell or bang a saucepan at 6pm on Christmas Eve to ‘spread ‘hope and togetherness’ before phoning their isolated neighbours and relatives. 

The online campaign, backed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds, is intended to help combat loneliness over the festive period and will last for two minutes on December 24. 

The campaign was started by Mary Beggs-Reid, from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, to ‘end 2020 with a bit of magic, hope and togetherness’ in her home town.

The campaign was started by Mary Beggs-Reid (pictured), from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, to ‘end 2020 with a bit of magic, hope and togetherness’ in her home town

More than 445,000 have signed up to take part in the event on Facebook through Ms Beggs-Reid’s original post and she has now teamed up with the Christmas/Together campaign.

Ms Beggs-Reid was due to travel from Harrogate to London today to meet Mr Johnson and drum up support for the campaign.

However due to the tough new Tier Four restrictions introduced in the capital on Saturday at midnight they can no longer meet in person.

She is now expected to take part in a video call with the Prime Minister and Ms Symonds instead.  

More than 445,000 have signed up to take part in the event on Facebook through Ms Beggs-Reid’s original post and she has now teamed up with the Christmas/Together campaign. Pictured: Residents in Harrogate, North Yorkshire 

Speaking about the restrictions, Ms Beggs-Reid said: ‘For some it will not change anything but for others it will be heartbreaking.

‘This will be our happy moment. Covid can not take this from us so ring louder.

‘This year the Christmas spirit is so needed and for two minutes we can make sure nobody feels alone.’

She added: ‘After this weekend it is needed more than ever.’ 

Ms Beggs-Reid was due to travel from Harrogate to London on Monday to meet Mr Johnson and drum up support for the campaign

It comes as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, urged people to spend time on the telephone talking and planning future meetings with those feeling lonely over the festive period.

‘I have spent Christmases on my own… and I have no illusions about how dark it feels,’ he said, speaking on the Andrew Marr show.

‘It may be many months yet but as the vaccine comes in, things will change.’  

Staff and members of the public gather outside the Salford Royal Hospital in Greater Manchester to join the applause for NHS staff and other key workers in May 

Weekly claps were a staple of the first months of lockdown, with streets of neighbours heading out to their doorsteps to give thanks for the effort of healthcare workers during the coronavirus crisis.

The Clap for Carers ended in June after 10 weeks of applause for frontline workers. 

The nationwide campaign was started by a Dutch woman from London called AnneMarie Plas, who went viral with her plea to clap for healthcare workers after seeing it take place in her home country and others around Europe. 

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