Charlie Mackesy, author and illustrator of much-loved book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse has come together with the nation’s schools and the Together Coalition to create a nation-wide Thank You card.
Charlie's words and illustrations have brought comfort to many and have been shared online by readers around the world. The physical card, which will be created as part of the national Thank you Day on Sunday 4 July 2021, will feature an original artwork designed by Charlie and Colm Roche, who has worked closely with Charlie on all editions of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. The special illustration brings together Charlie’s much-loved characters of the boy, the mole, the fox and the horse with members of the community all gathered together within a heart above the words ‘Thank You’.
“The past 18 months have been hard for so many people. One of the few positives is that it has brought many of our communities closer together. I hope Thank You Day provides us all a chance to get together and thank those who made the pandemic bearable.” said Charlie.
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders said: “I speak to school and college leaders across the country on a daily basis. And one of the things they regularly talk about is who they are thankful to for getting them through the last year. To their teachers and support staff, governors and trustees, to their own families and of course first and foremost to the children and young people who have put up with huge amounts of pain and anxiety to keep us all safe. We all have so many people to thank and this card is just one huge expression of that.”
As part of the project every class in the country is being asked to make their own large thank you poster, listing some of the people they want to thank. These will be inserted into the card and unveiled in the week ahead of Thank You Day.
Adam Willis, a primary school teacher in County Armagh Northern Ireland, said:
"As teachers, we’ve been so impressed and inspired by our pupils and so I would like to thank my class for being so positive and adaptable over the past year. I know that they each have so many people that they want to thank too so we're excited as a class and school to contribute to a really special thank you card.”
Emma, a 16-year old Explorer Scout from Manchester, said:
“It's been really hard for young people through the pandemic, particularly with school and exams being disrupted. I know my friends and I have so many people to say thank you to for their support over the last year, especially our family, friends and teachers! We're so excited to show how grateful we are in the biggest way we can."
Backing the national thank you card are organisations including the Association of School and College Leaders, the National Association of Head Teachers, the NASUWT, the Linking Network, the Youth Sport Trust, the Church of England Education Office, Catholic Education Service, the National Literacy Trust, the National Governance Association, Cultural Learning Alliance, Independent Schools Council, VotesforSchools, the Fair Education Alliance.
“The last year has been tough and exacerbated and made visible many challenges and inequalities that already existed in our society and in education. Yet, at the same time we’ve been presented with an opportunity for positive change, hope and acts of good. We have all seen this from friends, family, teachers, community leaders and many, many others. Thank you day is an opportunity to say thank you for all the incredible efforts large and small over the last year and the efforts still to come to make this world a fairer one”
Sam Butters and Gina Cicerone Co-CEOS of the Fair Education Alliance
“Playing and having fun have been really important for children’s development and wellbeing this year – it’s not been easy during the lockdowns but thanks to the creativity of amazing teachers and coaches many young people have been helped to stay active.
"The Youth Sport Trust will be promoting Thank You Day through National School Sport Week (19th -25th June) as it’s the perfect opportunity to thank those who have motivated us to get up and get moving and feel better as a result.”
Alison Oliver, CEO Youth Sport Trust
"There is no job that is more important than teaching. Thank You Day is a great opportunity to celebrate the work of teachers and to recognise how teachers change lives.”
Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT
“Writing notes, letters and cards soared as an activity during lockdown. It’s wonderful to use this rediscovered national pastime to say thank you for millions of acts of generosity and care that have marked the past year. This great card of thank you will be a national expression of something so many of us are bursting to say to friends, relatives and neighbours at this moment.”
Jonathan Douglas, CEO National Literacy Trust
“The most positive moments over the last year have been when we came together to say thank you. When we clapped for the NHS it was an outpouring of emotion for all they were doing for us, and also a way of expressing our hope and unity to everyone in our communities – a moment for the country to literally show that we are all in it together. Schools have been crucial hubs of support for the community throughout the pandemic, from keeping the country going by looking after key worker children, to literally delivering food for children at times. They deserve a thank you, and they will want to say thank you, for all the support from staff, families and children that enabled them to keep going. This card is another wonderful moment to all come together and share our gratitude.”
Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of School Leaders’ union NAHT
“Governors and trustees are hugely appreciative of the tremendous effort and commitment shown by leaders, teachers and staff over the past 15 months. NGA is delighted to support this joyful recognition of everyone who has contributed to ensuring the very best education and wellbeing for children and their communities. I add our own big thank you to everyone involved including governors, trustees and governance professionals.”
Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association
“Thankfulness is at the heart of so many schools’ values as we express our gratitude for the good things we enjoy as well as remembering to thank others for their love, care and compassion. This year of all years is one where children and adults alike will want to say a huge thank you to all those who have supported them, and what better way than joining in with this huge card? We encourage all Church of England schools to get involved.”
Nigel Genders, Chief Education Officer, The Church of England Education Office
Thank You Day is scheduled for the 4 July 2021 and is supported by hundreds of organisations across the UK including the NHS, the Scouts, the Royal Voluntary Service and the Football Association. It is calling for people to safely get together with their friends and neighbours, from picnics to BBQ’s, street parties to park runs.