A lasting legacy for the NHS

It’s the valiant Captain Tom Moore’s one hundredth birthday today.

This incredible man was given an RAF flypast and made an honorary colonel in recognition of his fundraising efforts, which have topped more than £30 million for the NHS.

His family say it’s time for him to have a rest now. His donation page will be closed tonight.

Like so many others, Mr Grigg and I have each made a contribution to his campaign. Here in the village we also plan to sing Happy Birthday to him after the weekly eight o’clock Clap for Carers. Earlier, for The Sound of Music Through The Square Window song slot at one o’clock, I played The Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) as a mark of respect for all that walking he’s done for such a good cause.

The money he’s raised will make a big difference. Even then, it’s only a drop in the ocean. NHS Charities Together gives £1 million a day to help the publicly-funded NHS do more.

Our support for Captain Tom is the kind of community spirit we must cling on to, long after lockdown is lifted.

NHS workers and carers who come into contact with coronavirus in the course of their working day didn’t sign up for a dangerous occupation.  They didn’t weigh up the pros and cons like those who are thinking about joining the armed forces. Our health workers never expected to be parachuted into a war zone to fight an invisible enemy, putting themselves and their families at risk.

They are not caped crusaders, they’re ordinary, brave people doing their job. Clapping for them is the least we can do.

I read on a Facebook friend’s post that our nation’s outpouring of sentiment for the NHS could be described as ‘Diana-fication’, capturing the public mood at a particular moment in time, and when that moment passes people move on to something else.

It was a thought-provoking post, suggesting the Thursday night clap for carers was all very well but pretty pointless if the nation does not protect and respect the NHS in the future more than it has done in the past or at present.

As the list of NHS workers dying in the line of duty grows ever longer, it is right to ask questions. Could more have been done earlier to combat this crisis? Should we have been locked down sooner?

Yes, we need to focus on the positive, the here and now, because that’s what’s important. We need to get through this. We need hope and light at the end of the tunnel. But you can bet your life the proverbial fan will have something hitting it when this is all over. It’s not being negative for us to think more deeply now about the things that are important to us, not just in our personal lives, but in the wider world. Things like the NHS and how we treat it.

The challenge for us, as the people, is to ensure that we and the politicians acting on our behalf do not move onto something else once this is over. We – and they – have a duty to use this ‘Diana-fication’ as an opportunity for change. Rather than whinge or marvel about this phenomenon, whichever side of the political fence we sit on, we must harness it for the future. For the nation’s benefit rather than the politicians’.

Tomorrow I’ll be back to my usual fluffy and irreverent self. I just needed to say what I’ve said today.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x

By Maddie Grigg

Maddie Grigg is the pen name of former local newspaper editor Margery Hookings. Expect reflections on rural life, community, landscape, underdogs, heritage and folklore. And fun.

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