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Watch: Ian McElhinney stars in Tourism NI tribute to people of Northern Ireland amid coronavirus pandemic

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Nurses at the Mater Hospital in Belfast taking part in the last night of the Clap for Carers tribute. Picture by Stephen Davison/Pacemaker

Nurses at the Mater Hospital in Belfast taking part in the last night of the Clap for Carers tribute. Picture by Stephen Davison/Pacemaker

Nurses at the Mater Hospital in Belfast taking part in the last night of the Clap for Carers tribute. Picture by Stephen Davison/Pacemaker

Tourism NI has paid tribute to the people of Northern Ireland and their response to the Covid-19 crisis with a video applauding their “giant spirit”.

The one minute 40 second film, narrated by Game of Thrones and Derry Girls star Ian McElhinney, is a gesture designed to raise spirits and send a small message of hope and resilience.

“There’s a crisis in our land and it is trying to tear us all apart," says McElhinney. “No longer can we stand side by side but that doesn’t mean we can’t stand together."

The film includes moving clips of people being applauded by family and neighbours as they return home from hospital after contracting the virus and fighting for their lives.

Pictures of Belfast City Hall and Parliament Buildings illuminated in blue in support of NHS staff feature in the campaign video, as well as touching footage of people across Northern Ireland taking part in the weekly Clap for Carers movement.

The film which is just under two minutes long, also includes a clip of Pastor Mark McClurg, of Newtownards Elim Church, who made headlines when he spoke of his near-death experience in viral videos recorded from the coronavirus ward of the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald.

“If you look closer,” McElhinney continues, “there is more than a crisis. There is a flicker, a flame of perseverance. It might look small, but it is giant at heart, fuelled by our spirit that never wavers, whatever comes our way.

“We are a land that, in times of need, stands together, stands strong and will not falter.”

He adds: “Ours is a giant spirit forged by our surroundings. A spirit filled with relentless creativity descended from legends that shines through cold winds with warm smiles and open hearts.

“We’ll get through this, just like everything else. We’ll keep fighting on the front lines, we’ll keep protecting our families, our loved ones, our community.

“We’ll keep our spirits up and raise the spirits of those around us. We will get through this, together.”

The film which is just under two minutes long, also includes a clip of Pastor Mark McClurg, of Newtownards Elim Church, who made headlines when he spoke of his near-death experience in viral videos recorded from the coronavirus ward of the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald.

Tourism NI Chief Executive John McGrillen said the video tribute “showcases the generosity, spirit and strength of our people and conveys the fact that in times of need we stand together”.

“The people of Northern Ireland and the warm hearted courtesy that we extend to others is the essence of our welcome and so we decided that as an agency we were well placed to pay tribute to everyone who has stood together during this crisis.”

He added: “We are acutely aware of the challenges faced by our communities as we start to consider how we move into recovery.

“The tourism industry will have an important role in helping to rebuild the economy, sustain jobs and create opportunities for our young people.

“We have witnessed incredible strength from our entire community in recent months and this film is intended, as much as a thank you, as a way of stating that we will continue to need each other to rebuild in the years ahead.

“Tourism NI, Government and industry are working together in unique ways to provide practical help to businesses in Northern Ireland. Despite the considerable challenges that we face this film is one of hope and pride shared across the country.”

Belfast Telegraph