Review of 2020: Hope amid the shadow of coronavirus in Norfolk
- Credit: Archant
The spread of coronavirus means 2020 has been a year like no other - and it is one many people would like to forget.
But, amid the horrors of this lethal pandemic, which has affected every one of us, there have been moments to illuminate the gloom.
There have been times when the spirit of people in Norfolk has triumphed in the face of this killer virus, where kindness and generosity have cast away the shadows.
This became clear in the early days of the pandemic, when people realised just what an impact Covid-19 was going to have on one of the UK's most cherished and valued institutions - the NHS.
Many across Norfolk and Suffolk embraced the weekly Clap For Carers, with neighbourhoods turning out to applaud the key workers trying to save lives amid the first wave of the pandemic.
Pictures of rainbows, showing support for the NHS, were put up in windows, painted on walls, or chalked on pavements as people expressed their appreciation for the health workers.
The was clapping, cheering and fireworks as the region came together in solidarity for NHS staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
You may also want to watch:
At a time when national lockdown was enforced, going out on to the doorstep to clap helped bring communities together at a time when the horrific impact of the virus was only just becoming clear.
In March, Eloise Williamson, from Drayton, said: "I am tucked away in a corner of a close but I could still hear the clapping for miles.
- 1 Person pulled from car as rain lashes region
- 2 Teenager who lost driving licence receives surprise in post
- 3 Seven fire engines called to blaze on housing estate
- 4 ‘It went up like a matchstick’ - Neighbour’s horror at blaze
- 5 Road closed due to accident after car reportedly flips on to its roof
- 6 Fire crews still at scene as investigation launched into house blaze
- 7 Pedestrian suffers life-threatening injuries in A47 crash
- 8 Five cars and a horsebox involved in crash near RAF base
- 9 Family devastated after death of much-loved and well-known horse
- 10 7 of the prettiest streets in Norfolk
"There were people cheering, clapping, honking horns and even banging saucepans with spoons.
"The atmosphere was incredible and it was so heart-warming to see our community come together to celebrate all those who are working hard for us all.”
Heart-warming was an excellent description and one which also applied to the magnificent response for help in getting vital supplies to those who were having to shield due to the pandemic.
A call for a volunteer army to make sure people were not going without led to 3,000 people registering to help by the end of April.
Alan Hopley, chief executive of Voluntary Norfolk said he was "astounded" by the response.
Community groups sprang up offering to help with shopping for vulnerable neighbours - with this newspaper joining forces with Norfolk County Council for a Here To Help campaign.
Council officers were moved from their usual duties to help at coronavirus hubs - making welfare calls, delivering food parcels, making hundreds of medical pick-ups to thousands of the most vulnerable people in Norfolk.
That fund was set up as the pandemic started to spread to build up a pot of money for Norfolk Community Foundation to distribute to charities.
Elsewhere, the foodbanks around Norfolk and Suffolk continued their excellent work to ensure people did not go hungry at a time when people had lost their jobs or were at risk of losing them.
Hannah Worsley, project manager of Norwich Foodbank, said in May: "I think a few had worried we’d stopped completely and when they realise we haven’t the relief in their voice is just incredible.
"On a small level, seeing someone different, that just breaks the day up and makes it better.
"Seeing someone that cares as well and is happy to have a conversation helps.”
And, towards the end of the year came a much-needed shot in the arm. Quite literally.
The first vaccine was rolled out, with people at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston the first to receive jabs.
Kenneth Ireland, 86, from Wymondham got a round of applause as he become the first person to roll up his sleeve for the Pfizer jab at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at the start of December.
Mr Ireland said: "That couldn’t have gone any smoother. The set-up is brilliant as are all the people included in it.”
Staff congratulated Mr Ireland with a round of applause, to which he replied "you deserve a lot of them".
Mr Ireland wished all the staff "merry Christmas" as he left and was offered a chocolate on his way out.