In his latest column, High Peak MP Robert Largan explains how different the Easter weekend was for his family this year and emphasises the need to continue following the social distancing rules.
What a difference a year makes. On Good Friday last year, I took friends walking in the Hope Valley. It was a scorching hot day but with enough of a breeze to make for perfect walking conditions. We started at Castleton and walked up Cave Dale and then up Mam Tor and along the Great Ridge before timing it perfectly to join the Hope Valley Beer & Cider Festival being held at the Old Hall in Hope.
This year’s Easter Bank Holiday weekend was, obviously, a very different one. Due to coronavirus, there was no Good Friday walking trip with friends. And there were no local beer festivals to enjoy. As disappointing as that was, Easter Sunday was much harder. Every year, we hold a family get together on Easter, enjoy my mum’s home cooking and organise an Easter egg hunt for my young cousins.
Of course, there was no family gathering this year. My partner and I followed Government advice and stayed home in Glossop. I didn’t get the chance to see my parents or my one year old nephew or my sister, who is due to have her first child any day now. I miss them all.
But as difficult as that may be for me, it is nothing compared to those who have lost loved ones before their time because of this awful pandemic.
Social distancing is hard. It runs counter to our natural instincts and our need to pull together and take care of each other in difficult times. I do worry about the impact the lockdown is going to have on the nation’s mental health.
But staying home is easier than having to organise a funeral of a loved one and not being able to invite all your friends and family because of the current social distancing rules.
Staying home is even harder when the weather outside is as lovely as it has been recently. But it’s easier than having to work a 12 hour shift in an intensive care unit, wearing PPE the entire time.
For those struggling, there is help and support available. Local volunteer centres run incredibly important befriending services to help those who are isolated and lonely. Mutual aid groups have sprung up on almost every street across the High Peak. If you’re not sure where to find help, please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 01663 769779.
The lockdown measures are beginning to have a real impact. There is a long way to go but I know that we will get through this together.