Photo of the week: Flying the flag

Summary

The Warmste Week solidarity drive – no longer a fundraiser this year – was launched on high as the campaign logo was hung from the tower of Antwerp’s cathedral

A big thank you

Singer and television presenter Bart Peeters climbed to the top of Antwerp’s Onze-Lieve-Vrouw cathedral this week, to mark the start of the Warmste Week (Warmest Week) community campaign.

The solidarity drive, organised by VRT, takes place each year in the week before Christmas and involves thousands of events across the region. It ended on Christmas Eve with a five-hour TV show.

This year’s event was all about making a difference, and showing gratitude to those who have helped others. Eurovision star Sandra Kim sang her song “Ik hou van u” (I Love You) live on Radio 2 for a listener whose sister had donated a kidney to her, while across Flanders people collected gifts for healthcare workers, donated food to food banks and were encouraged to send cards and messages to people who had helped them.

The Warmste Week was our way of making ends meet

“In this difficult year, a lot of people have made an effort for someone else. It is really time to put them in the spotlight,” said VRT presenter Dieter Coppens. “Because admit it: there is no more valuable gift than a genuine ‘thank you’ from someone.”

The event was previously a fundraising campaign, and last year raised €17.5 million for more than 2,000 good causes. However, in June the organisers announced they would instead focus on direct action through volunteers, capitalising on the solidarity people had demonstrated during the crisis.

“The Warmste Week was our way of making ends meet,” Tim Van Den Brande of the non-profit Noah, which takes care of dumped, sick and abused animals, said at the time. “Due to the coronavirus, we haven’t been able to set up any campaigns ourselves, which also means we’ve lost income. There is a great fear that we will have to stop.”

Photo: Belga/Dirk Waem