The Harland & Wolff shipyard siren sounded on Thursday 28 May in tribute to the bravery and dedication of all key workers and NHS staff across the country. The horn, which was heard across Belfast for the first time in more than 20 years in April, rang out from the iconic shipyard at 8PM.

The weekly ‘Clap for Carers’ event has seen millions of people across the country pause every Thursday evening to applaud frontline key workers, NHS staff and carers who have continued to work throughout the lockdown. This evening was the last show of support from the nation after the organiser behind the ritual, suggested it should come to an end.

The horn sounding was be accompanied by a local bagpiper, Grahame Harris, who will be playing in solidarity with the workers. In addition, Gavin Robinson, the Member of Parliament for East Belfast was in attendance to show his support.

Harland & Wolff has remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure vessels remain in service, safeguarding the ability to deliver critical medical supplies, food and other essential supermarket products throughout the UK and the island of Ireland.

Seena Shah, spokesperson for Harland and Wolff, said: “On behalf of everyone at Harland and Wolff, we send our heart-felt thanks to all those who are working selflessly and tirelessly, day in and day out, to keep us all safe and to keep Northern Ireland and the whole of the UK moving.

“I also wish to thank the workforce at Harland & Wolff, who are keeping this key infrastructure facility open in order to keep our clients’ ferries and vessels in good working condition. Our staff have shown great agility and resilience during this time. It is vital that we continue to enable the seamless movement of food and medicines between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”

Gavin Robinson, Member of Parliament for Belfast East, said: “The sounding of the Harland & Wolff horn is an excellent show of solidarity. The NHS staff and key workers, both in Northern Ireland and across the UK, have given up so much to make sure that our people remain healthy, and that our country continues to operate. It is fitting that Belfast, and the whole country, show our gratitude for their hard work.

“I would also wish to express my appreciation to the Harland & Wolff team, who have continued to work throughout this crisis. Their ability to continue working safely has been vital to keep the supply of food and other essentials running smoothly.”

Grahame Harris, Harris Piping & Harris Kilt Company Owner, said: “Thank you to all key workers and NHS staff for everything they do everyday, risking their lives to keep us all safe.

“The Harland & Wolff cranes are iconic. I have grown up in Belfast and for years and years have longed to play bagpipes on top of the cranes. To finally get an opportunity to do that in tribute to the hard work of our frontline workers is an incredible honour.”