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While some of those in government broke rules in May 2020 the Stratford community supported each other in the fight against Covid



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‘WE need a grown-up in charge’, was the response of one pub landlord in Quinton as calls for Boris Johnson to resign over the ‘partygate’ scandal grew this week.

The prime minister was forced to apologise after attending a gathering on 20th May, 2020, at 10 Downing Street, with his private secretary Martin Reynolds inviting 100 employees “to make the most of the lovely weather”.

While England was in lockdown and the majority of people followed the rules, the Downing Street workers enjoyed social gatherings in the garden.

Shipston Home Nursing nurses wear PPE as they visit patients.
Shipston Home Nursing nurses wear PPE as they visit patients.

During May 2020 the Stratford Herald reported on a number of heartbreaking stories of families losing loved ones to the virus, but from the sadness what shone through was the emergence of an indefatigable community spirit and true local heroes.

Ingenious ways of holding VE Day celebrations virtually were discovered, singers sang through windows of care homes to provide some entertainment, and an army of sewers rose up to make hospital scrubs amid shortages.

A particular heartwarming story was builder Antony Cauvin’s invention of the ‘cuddle curtain’, a PPE device that allowed him to safely hug his mum.

The Herald joined Shipston Home Nursing on the road as the nurses visited terminally ill patients, while the Shakespeare Hospice shared its financial worries as it scrabbled around to secure funding. Despite this they kept going – and in good spirit.

Jo Poyner, head of clinical services, told the Herald at the time: “Surprisingly, morale is really good – everyone has risen to the challenge. The feeling is, ‘this is what we trained for’. I’m so proud of the team.”

Antony Cauvin and his cuddle curtain, with friend Lisa Mitchell. Photo: Mark Williamson
Antony Cauvin and his cuddle curtain, with friend Lisa Mitchell. Photo: Mark Williamson

This week a spokesperson for the hospice team commented: “Almost two years on, we are still facing difficult times with the loss of income as a result of the closure of our shops during periods of lockdown and restrictions in place impacting fundraising events and community activities.”

In Quinton a scarecrow competition was organised to keep spirits up. Boris Johnson could be found in scarecrow form outside the College Arms pub. Made by landlords Jim and Tania Tatlow with the help of daughter Tia, the family posed with scarecrow Boris for a Herald photo. In it the straw PM is displaying a sign with the slogan ‘Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives’.

In May 2020 a scarecrow of Prime Minister Boris Johnson was prominent outside the College Arms in Lower Quinton made by landlord Jim Tatlow, his wife Tania and daughter Tia. Photo: Mark Williamson L6/5/20/0095. (54215111)
In May 2020 a scarecrow of Prime Minister Boris Johnson was prominent outside the College Arms in Lower Quinton made by landlord Jim Tatlow, his wife Tania and daughter Tia. Photo: Mark Williamson L6/5/20/0095. (54215111)

Looking back now, landlady Tania can see the irony of Boris hanging around the pub contrary to rules.

Commenting on the partygate scandal, she told the Herald: “It is very frustrating when we were all abiding by the rules – and our business could not open – that Boris was having a good time, and thinks that the rules don’t apply to him.

“At the beginning of the pandemic I thought whoever was in government would probably get a lot of stick because this was the first time this sort of thing had happened. But now I think we do need a grown-up in charge.”



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