D&S column: Adversity has brought out the best in us

OVER the last three months, our attention has been quite rightly focused on the dedication of our front-line workers engaged in the battle with Covid-19.

Like all of you I have been in awe of the contributions made by health and care workers and the support networks that have sprung up across the UK and here in North Yorkshire.

But I am very grateful to so many of you for bringing to my attention the ways those not in that front line have also made their own contributions to our communities and organisations they love.

Adversity has brought out the very best in so many of us - and the examples are legion.

Like 100-year-old Joyce Richardson, the former Land Army veteran who has had difficulty standing since overcoming illness last year.

With her big birthday looming earlier this month Joyce decided she would endeavour to stand up 100 times – an achievement she managed and in the process raised an amazing £25,000 for Herriot Hospice Homecare.

Like five-year-old Henry Sangster who with his parents Jessica and Ross made a short video about going back to Richmond Methodist Primary School and how to stay safe through appropriate social distancing.

If you haven’t seen Henry’s charming and effective performance I urge you to do so on North Yorkshire County Council’s YouTube channel.

Like Alexandra Chandler of Northallerton who decided she would make cakes for key workers in our community. So far, the nine-year-old has baked more than 30 with local businesses also backing her effort by donating ingredients.

And like the young members of Richmondshire Gymnastics Club and their “Keep Bouncing” challenge to raise funds for their club and provide a tremendous physical training and social environment for hundreds of local youngsters when the Covid-19 pandemic has finally passed.

At the beginning of the pandemic I spoke of the collective national effort that would be required to overcome the challenge we all faced. The contributions I’ve just mentioned are part of that great effort. And they in turn, are just a tiny fraction of the good things happening in our communities right now. I am grateful to everyone involved in those acts of kindness or sacrifice that are helping us reach our goal.

Many challenges still lie ahead but I have huge faith in our communities’ ability to remain steadfast and to continue the fight to protect the health of our people and the economy.

 

There was some potentially very good news for our visitor economy this week.

James Mason, the chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, briefed me on prospects for the county's tourism industry as restrictions are gradually lifted.

Analysis of traffic to the tourism promotion body has shown that in May there was a 47 per cent increase in the number of visitors to its site. And of those additional web visitors 91 per cent had never searched for or been on the site before.

Which suggests that as and when we can wholeheartedly welcome tourists back to our beautiful towns and countryside the UK appetite for a ‘staycation’ in Yorkshire – particularly if summer holidays abroad prove difficult because of restrictions - is very strong.