We have all experienced different degrees of loss over the past two years. We lost our freedom, our ability to travel, to get together with friends and family freely. And so many suffered the loss of loved ones.
What we did not lose however was our will to say thank you to each other; to be compassionate and recognize each other’s sacrifices and efforts to care. Thank You Day on June 5 this year is an opportunity for us all to take a moment and celebrate the people who matter so much to us and our communities.
Thank you is such a simple phrase, one we learn from a very young age, but it is packed with so much meaning.
That was never better demonstrated than during the first lockdown of 2020.
Even when we could not get together with those we loved, with our colleagues, with others in our communities, we came together as a nation every week to express our unending gratitude to our key workers.
As weeks turned to months, and months to years, because it is now almost two years since the first national lockdown, we came together in different ways. Waving at windows, garden visits, decorating banners to show our gratitude to those keyworkers who continued to give their every day.
Those small moments shared became so important, a way to spread much-needed kindness throughout our communities. And they gave us all something to hold on to.
For me, those moments of connection were a reminder that my family and I were not going through this alone.
The friends who dropped off supplies when needed. The neighbors who, when we moved in next door, chatted freely over the wall because they knew we hadn’t had a chance to build those relationships.
Our local butcher who detoured by my house because they knew I was working flat out. The nursery staff who made videos for my daughter. And the school staff who worked so hard to make her first day at school as easy as it could be given the circumstances.
My team who understood I had to juggle work and requests for snacks, coloring in and hugs. And the chance to say thank you directly to NHS staff when I received my vaccine and booster jabs. These moments were wee gems of human connection and kindness that I am grateful for.
At Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, I have seen first-hand how important those small moments of human connection and shared experience can be to people’s lives.
I think of one of our amazing volunteers, Lynn. She is a stroke survivor who gives up her time to support two fellow stroke survivors with weekly calls.
When those she supports hear first-hand how Lynn has overcome similar challenges to adjust to her new life, it brings them comfort and offers hope for their future. I know how grateful they are for Lynn’s care of her in those conversations.
Thank You Day is all about showing appreciation for those shared experiences.
At Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, we understand the power of those special times when we make a connection with others. We never underestimate the power of a cup of tea.
That simple act of sharing a cuppa can start something incredible. It can be the start of someone’s recovery; it can be the moment someone begins to feel less isolated or lonely; it’s a message that whatever happens we will get through it together.
So what better way to mark Thank You Day this year than by encouraging Scotland to raise a cuppa together at Tartan Tea Parties.
We’re delighted to join the Together Coalition again this year and be part of the Thank You Day celebrations. Taking place on Sunday June 5, it ties in with the final day of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It is a great opportunity for a truly special nationwide moment of togetherness – a chance to recognize everyone who has given so much in testing times.
This year’s Thank You Day campaign is bringing together Lorraine Kelly, Ross Kemp and Gary Lineker to name a few. But while lots of stars will be coming together to be part of the celebrations, the person we really need is you.
By getting your friends, family and community together you will be making Thank You Day the biggest day of kindness and celebration we have seen in years – and don’t we all need it!
Last year’s Tartan Tea Party celebrations as part of Thank You Day really helped so many to reconnect after so much time apart. We had people doing everything from bagpiping down their street and doing fundraising challenges to making a simple, but precious phone call to someone they hadn’t spoken to for a while.
We even had the Red Hot Chilli Pipers surprise one of our incredible supporters Finlay who, from the age of ten, has done so much to raise funds and awareness after witnessing his mum’s own recovery journey after a stroke.
Every moment of kindness is a powerful act. It can have a really positive impact on the people around us. So, this year let’s make Thank You Day bigger and better – and with even more tartan!
Please sign up for your Tartan Tea Party pack online, save the date, don your favorite tartan, put the kettle on and raise a cuppa to say a heartfelt thank you to those who matter most to you on Sunday, June 5.
Jane-Claire Judson is chief executive of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland