MIKE HILL: We must weather the storms to come but we will prevail
The year 2020 for the majority of us is a write off.
As a country we’ve lived under the most unusual restrictions since March; our lives have been turned upside down, families have been kept apart, regions have been placed under lockdown, businesses have suffered, jobs have gone, our Public Services have been stretched to the limit and our economy has well and truly been stuffed. Most importantly people have died from a terrible virus that has not only cast a long shadow over our shores, but has spread throughout the World.
Hartlepool has had to put up with so much over the years. We’ve been the subject of ridicule through programmes like the disgusting Channel 4 programme ‘Skint Britain’, we’ve topped far too many negative charts, such as low life expectancy, drug deaths, child poverty and a distinct lack of Police Officers on our streets, but all of the unfair and often unjust portrayal of our Town was overshadowed last year by the overwhelming sense of community spirit and togetherness resulting from our response to the COVID Pandemic.
The virus obviously had an indelible impact on the lives of each and every one of us. Many people have died and many more have suffered the strange effects of isolation, shielding, and ultimate separation from loved ones. Some people have been sceptical, many more have been downright scared; especially the elderly.
As a Town we have stood up to this plague, this pandemic, we have gathered around and supported each other. And we know that in the run up to the new year, with Brexit behind us, we will still have to bite our lips and weather the storms still to come, but we will prevail as we always have done. The people of Hartlepool are unique and resilient and most importantly stand together as one in a crisis.
2021, the year that marks the 21st Century we live in, will hopefully see an end to our struggle with COVID 19, will hopefully see us get back to some kind of normal and we certainly will see the continuation of the kind of community spirit and kindness that was pivotal to and typical of Hartlepool in 2020.
I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.