unsung heroes

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Our brilliant farrier, Mark, was with us this week, and as we watched him do his sterling work we thought about all the unsung heroines and heroes of this Covid crisis. The lockdown has really made us realise how many people there are, all around the country, on whom the essentials of daily life depend.

Farriers have worked throughout the lockdown, because horses know nothing of pandemics, and the health of their hooves is vital. The farmers have been the same; carrying on and caring for their livestock. The vets have kept going, and the feed merchants too. Everything we needed for the herd has been provided, without a hitch.In our village, the local shop adapted instantly, setting up special protective screens, providing hand sanitiser at the door, its whole crew putting their shoulder to the wheel and maintaining their customary good humour. The chemist, more vital than ever in these times, put precautions in place and the pharmacists were all working at full stretch.

We remain in awe of all the NHS workers who have shown such courage and dedication in these demanding days. The country has rightly rallied round them and shown them all the appreciation they so richly deserve. But away from the front line there are so many unsung heroes who have kept life going – the hauliers, the delivery drivers, the stackers of supermarket shelves. In laboratories, away from public view, the scientists are working non-stop on potential vaccines, while the epidemiologists battle to understand the labyrinthine nature of this virus. People are still printing newspapers and putting on the broadcast news and literally making sure the trains run on time. In the care homes, devoted men and women are looking after the old and the infirm. Everywhere, volunteers and community groups have been coming together to help the vulnerable and the lonely.

Most of this has been done without fanfare, and some of it has carried personal risk – to physical health and mental well-being. It carries the memory of the famous British bulldog spirit which Churchill liked to summon when dear old Blighty was really up against it.

We at HorseBack are practised in hunting for silver linings in the darkest cloud. It’s something we have learnt in our work with wounded veterans; we search always for the light. We believe in possibilities, in hope, in second chances. That attitude has kept us all going through these uncertain times. And when we think of all the incredible human beings who have soldiered on through this crisis, who have kept the ship sailing, who have looked out for their friends and neighbours, we feel bolstered in that hope. We feel intense gratitude too. And we feel encouraged to look for a brighter future.

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