The brilliant tractor tribute to the NHS from a group of Warwickshire farmers

People around Britain have been paying tribute to the efforts of our NHS workers at the time of the coronavirus pandemic — but few have been as creative and clever as this one.

Every afternoon, members of the Country Life team will be sharing a story, an idea, a tip, a recipe or a thought for the day — something, in other words, to spread a little sunshine in troubled times. Today, it’s the turn of the digital editor, Toby Keel,  marvelling at an ingenious tribute to our wonderful NHS workers.

At five minutes to eight on Thursday night, we brought the children down to the front door, put overcoats on over pyjamas, and headed out. All the while I kept wondering if everybody else would join in. Images of lively late-afternoon balconies in Bologna and Seville, with people singing across the streets to each, other are one thing. Would the same really happen here?

But they did. Even on a sleepy side road in West Sussex, down the road from a school which has been shut for a week, people came out, clapped, cheered and laughed at how wonderful it was. Someone even let off fireworks.

We, like millions of people around the country, were paying tribute to the work done by the NHS workers at this toughest of times — literally risking their lives in order to keep the rest of us safe and well, working under what must be the most inordinate pressure.

Everyone joined in. The Duke of Cambridge posted a video of his children waving and clapping, and even in Downing St the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer did the same. I did note at the time how Boris was keeping his distance from Rishi; today, given the PM’s coronavirus test results, it’s a wonder they were even on the same side of the street.

Our favourite tribute of the day, however, came from a group of farmers in the Midlands:

The drone footage was shared by Edd Atkinson of the team at Forsyth Farmwork, based at Moorlands Farm in Kineton, Warwickshire, who used their skills to great effect to express their thanks.

‘I used to work there and William Forsyth, the boss, phoned me up with the idea,’ explains Edd.

‘So I went down there and used the drone to orchestrate the drilling of the letters. I thought it was exceptionally brilliant as now the weather is good, they took the time out of frantically trying to get thousands of acres drilled, all being very late from all the rain.’

What our NHS workers and other support staff are going through, the rest of us can only imagine. But we hope that a nation of people who are giving thanks and counting their blessings — both too rare these days — will go some way to letting them know how much they’re appreciated.