Column: VE Day

The following appeared as my column in the Barnsley Chronicle on 15th May:

Last Friday, our community celebrated 75 years since the end of the Second World War. We remembered the sacrifices of my grandad’s generation who served in WW2. During the two-minutes silence I thought about their bravery and sacrifice.

My thoughts go out to former servicemen and women and their families who missed out on VE Day events, many of whom looked forward to reuniting with old friends and taking part in veterans’ parades and street parties. I hope that they were comforted by the knowledge that members of our community were paying tribute to all the heroes of the Second World War from home. I have seen so many wonderful pictures of Stay at Home VE Day street parties, homemade bunting, picnics in front gardens and homes decorated red, white, and blue.

Like WW2, the Coronavirus pandemic is a once in a generation event that will forever impact our lives, from changing how we work and shop to our daily commutes. In a similar way to the generation that fought for our country over 75 years ago, we have risen to the challenge of COVID-19.

The saying ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’ has never been truer. As a community we have rallied together to help vulnerable friends and neighbours. We have clapped from our doorsteps on Thursday evenings to thank the NHS frontline staff, those that work in the social care industry and key workers who are keeping our country running. And, we have gone out of our way to make sure those struggling during these difficult times are safe and fed. I have heard so many stories of kindness and good deeds over the last few weeks, including the story of two local police officers who collected food and other essentials for a family in need. I am very proud to belong to such a generous community.

Going forward we must remember the sacrifices of those who are risking their health to look after others, the heart-breaking number of NHS and care workers who have died protecting their patients, and the key workers who are keeping our supermarkets stocked and collecting our bins every day. When this is over their dedication and professionalism during this crisis must be recognised.

The WW2 generation will know better than us that trying times pass. In the meantime, we must stay strong, follow Government guidance, and look after one another, even if from afar. My constituency office remains open, albeit with the staff working remotely from home, and we are here to offer help and support to all constituents who need it. If you need assistance please do not hesitate to get in contact, either by leaving a voicemail on 01226 743483 or by email to [email protected].