Ottery has gone 'above and beyond' during this difficult time
- Credit: Terry Ife/Callumn Lawton
The mayor of Ottery St Mary, councillor Vicky Johns, has expressed her pride for the town’s ‘fabulous’ community as the country looks ahead to easing of Coronavirus restrictions over the coming weeks.
Ottery residents can soon expect to see the Government's plan for non-essential shops and businesses to start re-opening and, in a message to its residents, the town’s mayor said that the pandemic has shown us all ‘who and what is important in our lives’.
“I am very proud to be part of such a fabulous community that has gone above and beyond to ensure that everyone has had someone or somewhere to turn during this difficult time,” said Vicky.
“The pandemic has been so hard and I feel for all of those who have lost someone.
“I applaud all of those who have done their bit to help, whether it has been staying at home, checking on a neighbour or friend, doing someone’s shopping, walking someone's dog or just giving a friendly smile and wave.”
Vicky, an East Devon District Councillor for Ottery, said that the council has been doing its best to support businesses as much as possible during lockdown.
“Last year we had the Shop Front Scheme where businesses could apply for some financial assistance to update their business fronts while waiting to see what happened,” said Vicky. “It was a very well taken up scheme”.
Vicky, who lives in Alfington with her husband and has two grown-up children, went on to praise the quality of character shown by Ottregians over the past year.
“Needless to say, the community of Ottery rose to the occasion, as did the businesses, with many people pulling together to ensure that no one felt alone or went without,” said Vicky.
She went on to say: “There are well established groups in Ottery and a few new ones that have also started up to help all.
“I think that the pandemic has shown us who and what is important in our lives - not celebrities but the workers who have kept things going and put themselves at risk to ensure that we all have what we need and the care that we require.
“It has shown us how important family, friends and social interaction is and how if something like this happens we can all pull together in a beautiful place that we are all so lucky to live in.
“Shops across the country are struggling, however in Ottery we have a wide range of independent stores that have done us all proud, they have risen to the occasion valiantly and have gone above and beyond to ensure that whatever customers need they have received, including door to door deliveries.
“I'm sure that the shops need the lockdown to be over so that they can continue to serve the community and, as we are all aware, lots of people living by themselves need to be able to visit the local shops, not only for their shopping but also for the personal touch, of having someone ask 'how are you?’ and just general interaction.
“Please respect the businesses and be aware of the need to keep not only yourselves but the business owners safe, so adhere to the guidelines.”