What an extraordinary time it has been.
If you had said to me 18 months ago that I would be living in a country where it was against the law to go on holiday, to meet your friends and even your family I would have looked at you and pointed out that we don’t live in a despotic, controlling country, but in a country that is free, is the mother of all democracy, where hundreds of years ago the Magna Carter was signed.
Like I said that was back then. Now we all know it is very different. Our lives have been changed forever. Some of us have sadly lost loves ones. Some of us have been very ill. Some of us are still very ill. We see on the news that we are getting better as a nation, but we also see other countries like India are now really in the grip of a second wave that is leading to people dying in the street outside hospitals that are full. We forget that it could so easily have been us, and maybe could be if we choose not to follow the rules and get a variant that escapes the powers of our vaccines. Unlikely, but not impossible.
I have reflected daily on how I can try to make a difference. I volunteered for vaccine trials, they have not asked me yet. I have worked with the Office For National Statistics, being tested weekly for seven weeks and now monthly for a year, to help them understand how the virus is moving through our communities. Not much I know, but every bit helps. I have delivered food to people shielding. Many of your students may remember me coming into the school for your testing to allow school to reopen. I have done what I can when I can. I am sure you have all done the same.
There is an old saying that every cloud has a silver lining. Not sure it sounds quite right in this instance, but what it means is that some times some thing good can come out of some thing bad. I truly believe it can. In this instance I think we have learnt things that if we remember for the rest of our lives, and pass it onto our children, could make our world a better place.
We have learnt to love our families a little bit more, yes they can be frustrating at times, but they are the people we love, and as importantly they love us.
We have learnt to value our friends, we have missed them and it is good to see them again. When we get upset or irritated with them try to remember what it is like not to have them there all the time.
We have learnt what it is to lose our freedom, to lose our routines, the familiar way that our lives run like a clock.
We have learnt to be more patient and much kinder, more open in our relationships. Lets not lose this as we move slowly back to the new normal. It makes us better people, it makes us a better society. It is a lasting tribute to those who did not manage to finish the Covid journey we have all been on.
Take care all.