COVID-19: Sherborne

In the U.K. and significantly in Sherborne and Dorset, the rainbow has become a symbol of support for our National Health Service and all the key workers during our 9 weeks (so far) of lockdown in this Corona Virus Crisis. Key workers include: doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, hospital porters, emergency services, armed services, delivery drivers, shop workers, teachers, waste collectors, manufacturers, postal workers, cleaners, vets, public transport drivers, engineers, farmers and plant nursery/garden centre workers and charity volunteers (helping to feed and protect the more vulnerable in society).
All those out there making a difference to our lives in these challenging times – they have been amazing!

Some children just drew a picture of a rainbow and stuck in in their window to show support and others went further and stitched and made larger rainbows with fabric and wool. Some ordered flags and bunting on the internet – especially if there was a nurse or doctor in their street – coming and going at all hours of the day and night, putting in long shifts at the hospital nearby and they made a showy display of appreciation. One family with 4 children painted a bed sheet and hung it in North Road and it always raised a smile from everyone who passed by.

In mid-March around 60 people including youngsters with cars, signed up with the NHS to do shopping for the elderly and collect vital prescriptions for them and Sherborne Viral Kindness was developed. As Sherborne has many sole-trader businesses and independent stores they had to think fast and adapt their ways of working to get their products directly to the customers.In March 2020, the BBC ran a news article on them and described: “Sherborne Viral Kindness is one of a number of groups nationwide that aim to assist those who are self-isolating. It was created by several independent traders in the Dorset abbey town and also aims to keep local shops “afloat”.
Services will include home food deliveries, as well as street “co-ordinators” offering dog-walking. Each co-ordinator will be responsible for a street, or in some cases one of the outlying villages. They will exchange contact numbers with their neighbours and offer services such as DVD, book and medicine deliveries, dog-walking, yoga and mindfulness on-line or they’ll be there in case that person just needs a chat.”

Part of this organisation is Sherborne Community Kitchen, which is now 2 months old. In Sherborne, this initiative started pretty early on in when many businesses furloughed their workers and so skilled people had spare time to volunteer to help others in greater need. It runs from the Digby Hall. The 22-strong family who deserve a HUGE thank you are: Sandra (cakes), Frances (driver), Sarah (packer), Ali (driver), Tracy (driver), Tish and Esme (driver), Kevin (driver), Ginny(driver), Maria (packer) ,Tony (driver), Hector (packer), Graeme (driver), Rebecca (packer), Harry (packer), Hermione (packer and coordinator), Ed (driver), Karen (chef) ,Elizabeth (driver), Alexa (chef), Jim (chef), Adrian (chef) and Jill Warburton (co-ordinator), our ex-mayor! They cook around 100 hot meals a day and send out food parcels to the elderly, unemployed or those finding it hard to cope in these difficult circumstances – many businesses are donating to this group so that they don’t waste food etc and others are thinking of clever ways to raise a little money here and there for the funds to buy the food – they deserve massive congratulations as it is all done for free!

It has been hard for all the youngsters but particularly in our household for the students who couldn’t finish their exams and prove themselves ready for university or the next stage of their young pathways. They should be spending time with their peers, growing and developing, maturing alongside each other, having fun, parties, travelling and going out with their girlfriends (Fred says!) – see picture 6, “Corona-safe Distance”.

We hope you enjoy this collection of photos of Sherborne UK during Corona