At 8pm this evening (26 March), the UK will become a beacon of blue as entertainment and sporting venues, historic buildings and national landmarks across the country will be illuminated as a ‘salute to the NHS’ and to commend the courageous efforts of the UK’s healthcare professionals.

Participating sites include the Royal Albert Hall, the Belfast Titanic Signature Building, Lincoln Cathedral, The National Theatre, Metro Radio in Newcastle.

The #lightitblue campaign has been organised by a group of leaders from the event and entertainment industry to show a display the gratitude felt for those working tirelessly to look after those who are ill with Covid-19.

All #lightitblue venues will use existing LED technology to create a flash of blue on facades and screens to ensure the campaign adheres to the current guidelines from the British Government for people to stay at home.

The #lightitblue campaign was started by Gary White, managing director of White Productions and freelance production manager, Chuck Crampton.

White said: “The events and entertainment industry finds itself in an unprecedented state of enforced inaction. The best thing we can do – apart from staying at home – is to use our skills and networks to say thank you to the healthcare professionals risking their own health to help others during this pandemic.

“We also feel a huge sense of responsibility for the mental wellbeing of many people within our industry who, having lost their jobs, are feeling anxious and confused about the future. We believe the #lightitblue campaign, inspired by the existing #clapforourcarers initiative, will galvanize their enthusiasm and pride in a mass gesture of solidarity.”

The campaign also invites the general public to join in at home by creating blue-themed images and videos and sharing them online using the hashtag ‘#makeitblue’. People can take part while staying safe indoors, by painting their bodies blue, wearing blue accessories or turning their social media backgrounds blue.  Celebrities taking part in the challenge include Toyah Wilcox and Robert Fripp, as well as all three British Superbike brothers: Andrew, Glenn and Graeme Irwin.

Crampton added: “So far, 38 venues throughout the UK have shown great enthusiasm in taking part during Thursday’s round of applause, and we understand some will be continuing their illuminations for days or weeks to come.”

All organisations involved in the #lightitblue campaign are acting on a pro bono basis.

Rachel Parker, AEV director, said, “We are proud to have been a part of the #lightitblue project team, and I’m delighted so many AEV members were able to take part in #lightitblue without risking the health of their employees. Dozens of other members wanted to join in too, but social distancing and travel guidelines made this impossible. Nevertheless, the NHS has the wholehearted thanks and support of our entire membership, and this was an imaginative and spectacular way of demonstrating it.”