It may seem like an odd way of saying ‘thank you’, and of fighting back against the difficulties that the UK is facing right now, but the graffiti that was plastered on an M25 bridge close to one of the motorway exits, sending the message “Thank you NHS” means a lot to those who recognize it.
The original message, on a Network Rail bridge, of “GIVE PEAS A CHANCE” became a cultural icon to the extent that it was featured on a BBC documentary of “Landmarks that mean you are nearly home”, that graffiti ranked up there with the statue The Angel of The North, as an icon that everyone in the area, and even those who live across the other side of the country, can instantly recognize.
The “GIVE PEAS A CHANCE” graffiti was itself vandalized in 2018, replaced by HELCH. The unknown artist who committed this heinous deed pulled the community together, and 10,000 people joined the Facebook group protesting against that terrible act. A petition attracted more than 7,000 signatures, along with an outpouring of comments and tags as people shared their displeasure and dismay about the vanishing of the iconic graffiti and it being defaced by a mysterious artist.
It may have taken a long time, but all is now right with the world, in a way, as HELCH is now gone, replaced with “Thank you NHS”, a message that it would be most unusual for anyone to dispute. The founder of the group that mourned the loss of “GIVE PEAS A CHANCE” himself called the new graffiti “the greatest thing to happen to the bridge”. With the COVID-19 pandemic, NHS workers are putting in long hours and risking their own health and the health of their loved ones as they tirelessly work to save lives within the community. The graffiti is a tribute to the work that they are doing for everyone in the local community and across the UK. It’s a small token of appreciation, but one that will hopefully warm the hearts of the healthcare workers who drive past the sign on their way to work, where they will be saving lives.