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Wortley Village’s nightly cheer thanks healthcare workers

Two residents of Wortley Village jam out as the community thank frontline and healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two residents of Wortley Village jam out as the community thank frontline and healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Jolene Barr/Provided

The streets of Wortley Village in London, Ont., are filled with cheer for a few minutes every evening as residents thank local front-line and healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We cheer for two to five minutes every night at 7:30 p.m.,” said Jolene Barr.

“It’s short and sweet, but impactful.”

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Barr is one of the organizers of Wortley Village’s nightly cheer.

She told Mike Stubbs on London Live Thursday families like to dress up for the occasion.

One family wears dinosaur costumes, and Barr’s family wears unicorn costumes.

“[We] sometimes [wear] tuxedos and gowns, depending on our mood and the song for the evening.”
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Wortley Village’s nightly cheer is part of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s #TogetherWeCanDoIt campaign, which launched on March 19.

It encourages people to “… cheer on the millions of health providers, social service and other essential front-line workers in Ontario, Canada and around the world who are tackling #COVID19,” according to its website.

Barr says she and three neighbours passed on the idea to 15 families, and it quickly travelled through the Wortley Village community.

“And now, we have about 25 homes on our street alone that are cheering, and we can also hear the other streets.”

“It’s becoming a village initiative.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Londoners giving back to front-line workers and those in need of masks, scrub caps

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In terms of choosing what music to play, Barr says they select it from a playlist on Spotify called the ‘COVID-19 playlist.’

“It’s songs that are uplifting but have humour as well in relation to the situation we’re all in, which is isolation.”

After a song is selected, “…we throw it on the PA at 7:29pm, and it’s the cue for all the neighbours to stand outside their doorsteps and front lawns, and cheer as loud as they can.”

Barr says this is the time when families bang pots and pans, sing, cheer with bells and horns, and whatever else they can find.

“We have many children that are on the front lawns and front porches, dancing to the song and banging pots and pans, dressed in their Halloween costumes.”

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“[They’re] cheering for the frontline workers driving down the street, blaring their sirens.”

READ MORE: A look at when and how Canada could reopen after COVID-19 closures

Barr says frontline workers don’t make appearances every night, but they will visit Wortley Village periodically.

“When they can, they join [in], and they go up and down the streets and join the cheer,” says Barr.

“It’s a lot of fun! It also turned the adults into kids.”

Barr is inviting those driving through Wortley Village at 7:30 p.m. to honk their horns in support of front-line and healthcare workers.