Medical workers from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust were invited to carry out the annual Christmas switch-on, which saw all 20 storeys of the building lit up with more than 575 LED lights on Thursday night.
This year’s display features a Morse code message spelling out “Thank You”.
It is now being beamed across the capital in NHS blue and white – with a dash of rainbow in tribute to the NHS and key workers who have worked on the front line during the coronavirus pandemic.
Lizzie Rowland, a matron from the hospital, who was one of just three workers tasked with switching on the display, said: “It’s been an incredibly difficult year for everyone and we are not out of the woods yet, which is why it’s so special to see such a touching tribute reflected on western Europe’s tallest building.
“The teamwork and dedication shown across the country has been exceptional and really proves the commitment all staff have to delivering patient care. It has been an honour to represent the NHS, and all key workers across the country, by switching on these lights.”
The Morse code messages were verified by the Radio Society of Great Britain and will be displayed at two words-per-minute to ensure they can be deciphered by people across the city.
Tom O’Reilly, from the Radio Society, said: "Morse code has been a vital method of communication throughout history, and it is still in use today.
“It is so great to see it still playing a role in getting important messages out during times of hardship, and what better message to display across London than a thank you to the key workers who have been so brave in protecting us this year.”
The lights will be beamed across London every evening until December 11, when they will be switched to a festive theme.
The display follows The Shard’s participation in the Light It Blue campaign in March, which saw buildings around the country lit up in support of NHS and key workers.
The Shard spire lights have remained blue ever since.
Michael Baker, from The Shard, said: “As a beacon for modern London and one of the most iconic buildings in the UK, we wanted this year’s Shard Lights to demonstrate our immense gratitude to all the heroes on the front lines, who have sacrificed so much to keep us safe throughout the pandemic.
“We hope they can also bring some much-needed festive cheer into the daily views of people across the capital.”