Harrogate leaders champion 'hope and sharing' to get through coronavirus

How are we going to get through the coronavirus crisis may be the question of the day in Harrogate but the town's leaders have a straightforward answer - "pulling together."

Tuesday, 17th March 2020, 6:31 pm
"Theres a stoic sense of keeping calm and carrying on as best we can." - Team Rector Father Gary Waddington at St Wilfrid's Church in Harrogate. (Picture Gerard Binks)

The team rector at Harrogate's biggest church, St Wilfrid's, Father Gary Waddington said: "What’s struck me most this week, in so many conversations with people, in church and on the street though isn’t the fear – and its ok to feel frightened - it’s the sense of hope that also exists too.

"It’s how, here at least, there’s a stoic sense of keeping calm and carrying on as best we can.

”Despite the panic buying – which needs to stop now – there's also been the willingness to share, with each other, with the homeless and the poorest around us.

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"If there is any sense in which good can come out of this awful terrible time, it might be that we might re-learn what it important: to share, to care, to appreciate those work work so hard in the NHS, and to love not only our families, but our neighbours."

His positive message has been matched by Harrogate's business leaders.

Sandra Doherty, chief executive of Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce is one of those looking to stay positive by putting the emphasis on helping each other in business and in other areas of life during the coronavirus lockdown.

She said: "If there is one message it is lets all help each other.

"If businesses are offering new services, such as deliveries from cafes, they can tag us on the chamber's Twitter handle and we'll share it.

"It's all about just trying to spread the word about useful services for people and also help businesses keep some income to stay afloat.

"There is no magic involved. It's just staying strong and supporting each other.

"Lets all think carefully and try and support businesses locally.

"Keep an eye on our elderly friends and relatives especially those who are in business.

"Remember if they have to isolate they may need a hand with their business?"

Steve Scarre, president of Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce, said: "I am sure will recognise all of this and we, the Chamber, and other stakeholders such as Harrogate BID, need to work together to to come up with a plan that can be put into place next week.

"Online shopping is now becoming a priority for all types of retailers, not just supermarkets. Could we introduce a scheme to help them do that, for instance, but we’d need to act quickly and divert money from other non-urgent activities."

The message of business leaders is matched by an appeal by the team rector at Harrogate's biggest church, St Wilfrid's.

Father Gary Waddington said: "What’s struck me most this week, in so many conversations with people, in church and on the street though isn’t the fear – and its ok to feel frightened - it’s the sense of hope that also exists too.

"It’s how, here at least, there’s a stoic sense of keeping calm and carrying on as best we can.

”Despite the panic buying – which needs to stop now – there's also been the willingness to share, with each other, with the homeless and the poorest around us.

"If there is any sense in which good can come out of this awful terrible time, it might be that we might re-learn what it important: to share, to care, to appreciate those work work so hard in the NHS, and to love not only our families, but our neighbours."