Across the UK, hundreds of fencers are joining in a mass salute to show their respect and gratitude to the NHS and key workers during the COVID-19 lockdown.
With many sports activities on hold, fencers are taking to their gardens and homes to raise a sword in salute. Fencers of all ages, from Scotland to Devon, have already taken pictures and made videos showing their salute of support.
British Fencing CEO Georgina Usher says, “The salutes started as a way to show our thanks to the people who are working so hard to keep us safe at this time. In fencing we show our respect to each other and the sport through a salute. It has been inspiring to see how our community has come together across the UK to express our respect to the NHS and key workers in our own, unique way.”
Dr Mary Cohen, a paediatrics doctor and fencer, was one of the first to salute, wearing her NHS badge, with a sword in hand. The pictures and videos of salutes continue to grow as clubs find unique ways to capture their members’ messages and post them on social media.
The movement includes fencers at all levels, from elite senior athletes like Ben Peggs and BF Olympic Team Manager Johnny Davis to young fencers and beginners creating homemade swords to join in.
The significance of the salute: Fencers show respect to their opponents and supporters by saluting before and after fights. The sword is raised to acknowledge their opponent and the referee. The salute is so built into fencing that there is a penalty in the rules if you fail to salute in your fight.
Images can be found on social media using the hashtag #SalutetheNHS and are compiled periodically below:
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