Railway stations across London turned blue last night and the first of a series of surprise well-known voices was heard on their concourses as part of the #MakeItBlue campaign, Saluting the efforts of hard-working NHS staff and essential workers across the country.

London Waterloo and London Bridge stations were bathed in blue lights to show appreciation to those working to fight COVID-19 – many of whom travel to work through these stations every day – meanwhile a projection thanking our NHS heroes was shone onto the front of London Victoria and Charing Cross, and Charing Cross railway bridge was also turned blue.

NHS staff and other key workers who cannot work from home also heard the voice of Gary Lineker broadcast across the stations.   

His message, recorded in his own time for free, said: “Thank you to all our NHS and key workers you are the best, we love you all and we will be forever in your debt.” 

Additional famous voices will be joining Gary in the coming days to give passengers a boost as they travel to and from work. 

The iconic clock on the concourse at Waterloo, the western arcade at London Bridge and the façade of Clapham Junction also turned blue at 8pm, as station staff joined the nation in clapping to show support. 

Sir Peter Hendy CBE, chair of Network Rail, said: “Network Rail is delighted to turn our stations and structures blue in support of the NHS, our public services (including our railways), and the brave and selfless people who deliver them 24/7. Thanks to all our colleagues who’ve made this happen.” 

Nicole Cohen-Wray, interim director of stations for Network Rail Southern Region, said: “The NHS and other essential workers are doing an incredible job for our country and turning our stations blue to demonstrate our appreciation for their sacrifice is the least we can do. 

“Our stations are normally some of the busiest in the country, but we are so pleased that people have listened to Public Health England advice to stay at home to save lives – it helps keep our staff and the people who hear and see these thank you messages safe.” 

In a normal year Waterloo, Victoria, London Bridge and Charing Cross stations see around 245million passengers come and go – an average of 670,000 a day – but numbers are down by approximately 95% since the start of the coronavirus crisis.