2020 wasn’t all bad, right?
Let’s not beat around the bush, 2020 hasn’t been our day, our week, our month, or even our year. However, while many of us can’t wait to ring in the new year and start afresh, there were some pretty incredible moments that deserve some airtime. If you need your faith in humanity restored or proof that 2020 had some redeemable qualities, here are ten wholesome things that happened over the course of the year.
1. The weekly clap for the NHS and frontline workers
Clap For Our Carers began all the way back in March, and saw the whole of the UK take to their doorsteps, windows, and balconies to show their appreciation for the NHS and frontline workers. Every Thursday at 8pm for nearly three months, Brits ventured outside with pots, pans, and anything remotely drum-like to applaud those who put their own lives at risk during the pandemic. It was so overwhelmingly beautiful that Clap for Our Carers will now become an annual event, one which will forever commemorate the hard work and sacrifices of those working on the frontlines.
2. Captain Sir Tom Moore won our hearts
Lockdown produced its fair share of heroes, and none more so than Captain Tom Moore, the 100-year-old WWII veteran who raised almost £33,000,000 for the NHS by walking laps of his garden. He’s since received a tribute on the Piccadilly Circus billboards, won a Pride of Britain award, was presented with a military flyover to wish him a happy birthday and was knighted by the Queen – all in recognition of his incredible fundraising efforts. If 2020 has proved anything, it’s that not all heroes wear capes.
3. Londoners attended Black Lives Matter protests
In the midst of the pandemic, thousands of Londoners took to the streets in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Protesting against systemic racism in the US, UK, and around the world, demonstrators gathered across the city to take a stand. Londoners marched for several days with handmade signs in hand, powerful chants at the ready and a mission to create long-lasting change. London has a long, proud history of protesting injustice, oppression, and inequality, and we were reminded of that once again this summer.
4. Lockdown had a positive impact on the environment
While being stuck indoors for several months was not everyone’s idea of a good time, it had some pretty spectacular effects of the environment. Air pollution levels in the capital decreased, toxic fume levels dropped to their lowest level since the 1950s, air traffic in the UK fell by around 90% and the earth’s ozone layer seemed to be on the mend. And in a surprising, but completely amusing turn of events, wild animals were found roaming the streets of London!
5. Our favourite restaurants revealed their secret recipes
There’s being in lockdown, and there’s being in lockdown without your favourite food… Thankfully, dozens of restaurants released their top secret recipes this spring so that we could recreate their classic dishes while stuck indoors. And boy, did we! We learned how to make Pizza Hut’s insanely delicious dough balls, Gloria came through with the details of their ludicrous lemon meringue pie and perhaps the most exciting of them all was the grand reveal of Wagamama’s chicken katsu curry recipe!
6. Theatres streamed their legendary performances online
In the year that we couldn’t go the theatre, the theatre came to us. The Globe theatre released a number of their iconic Shakespearean productions online for us to stream at home – and for free, I might add! Similarly, the National Theatre invited us to catch a range of their best-loved productions from the past few years online. And the Royal Opera House also jumped on the bandwagon, streaming opera and ballet performances for free during quarantine. We even had Romeo and Juliet’s iconic balcony scene reenacted by these devoted north London neighbours. The show must go on and it certainly did!
7. Marcus Rashford saved the day with his child food poverty campaign
The UK government announced that they would not provide children with free school meals over the October half term. Manchester United footballer, Marcus Rashford, launched a child food poverty campaign in response and a number of restaurants, cafes and local businesses stepped in to help those most in need, offering hot meals and takeaway packed lunches free of charge. No child deserves to go hungry, and this valiant effort from Londoners was truly heartwarming. Rashford was also awarded a Pride of Britain award for his outstanding work to help fight food poverty in Britain!
8. The UK’s first pride train launched
In August, the UK’s very first, rainbow-covered Pride train set off from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly on its first official service. In the most spectacular fashion, they fully covered one of their trains with the most recent iteration of the Pride flag, which includes black, brown, light blue, pink and white, representing people of colour, transgender people and those living with or who have been lost to HIV/AIDS. The first official service was also staffed by an entirely LGBTQ+ crew. It doesn’t get more wholesome than this!
9. This year’s Christmas lights displays carried a message of love and hope
Pandemic or not, it’s still the most wonderful time of the year! And London’s 2020 festive displays are even more heartwarming than ever. The perfectly pink Carnaby Christmas lights have a message of solidarity, hope and connection that’s shining bright above Soho for the winter. And over on Oxford Street, these festive lights are paying tribute to the strength and brilliance of Londoners, whilst also honouring those who have demonstrated kindness over the year.
10. The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine was approved
Last, but certainly not least, is the Covid-19 vaccine! The UK was the first country in the world to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and this was largely thanks to the valiant effort of scientists, technicians, frontline workers, and volunteers across Britain! 90-year-old Margaret Keenan made history after receiving the world’s first Covid jab on December 8 and it has given us all hope for a much brighter 2021!