Year in Review 2020: April to June was a time when we pulled together
- Credit: Archant
Starting in April with the first lockdown just a week old, Welwyn Hatfield had some good news by June with the opening of non-essential retail.
During this period of Stay at Home, Stay Alert, and Control the Virus, our community stepped up to the plate with numerous examples of little and big kindnesses.
To address the shortage of hand sanitiser in April, the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield made some to help keep key workers safe during the pandemic.
Jim McManus, director of public health at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “This incredible achievement shows the university is committed to defeating this pandemic as any of us.”
And after HCC called for Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, for carers and other healthcare workers due to shortages, Queenswood School in Brookmans Park, Stanborough School in Welwyn Garden City, the Uni of Herts, Potters Bar online clothing store Style Cheat, Hatfield Town Football Club, residents of Dellcott Close in Welwyn Garden City and more gave and made what they could.
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The community also went out of its way to help the most vulnerable with a Hatfield-based brother and sister, Emily and Bertie, collecting a large amount of food and supplies from their neighbours to donate to a local food bank, Hatfield Harriers making over 500 food and medicine drops, Potential Kids dropping care packages to neurodiverse children and volunteers at a Hatfield-based homeless charity, Resolve, shutting themselves into the Jim Mcdonald Centre to support people during the pandemic.
And Chris Cook started broadcasting some music and chat online in April at Potters Bar Radio to support those facing isolation and a Welwyn Garden City couple donated their wedding cake to Lister Hospital, while business dropped takeaways to the staff.
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But the weight of the pandemic was also starting to be felt with care home deaths hitting the news in a big way.
From April 10 to April 24, there were 121 deaths involving COVID-19 in Hertfordshire nursing homes, making it the worst affected area in the East of England.
While, hospital coronavirus deaths, which are released daily compared to the ONS figures, put the total number in Hertfordshire as of April 27 at 378.
Of those was Dr Alfa Saadu, who was working part-time since April 2018 at the Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital, and who died after battling the virus for two weeks.
His son, Dani, paid tribute to his dad on Facebook, who he described as a “living legend” who saved peoples lives in the UK and in Africa.
Andrew Granath, a highly regarded teacher of government and politics at Queenswood School also died on Thursday, April 9 with COVID-19.
The independent girls school said he had an “extremely distinguished career” as an academic and an educator.
And in May, tributes were also paid to a Welwyn businessman who died at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital after contracting COVID-19.
John O’Conner died following a 12 day-battle with the illness. His company said: “John was an immense character and much-loved family man who will leave a long and lasting memory for all who met and knew him.”
There was also good news when a Welwyn Garden City-based great great grandmother celebrated her birthday after beating coronavirus and pneumonia in April.
Violet Cook, a former WWII Land Army member, was 94 on April 23, a day after arriving back from the hospital.
This year was also supposed to be a celebration of 75 years since Victory in Europe day, which took place on May 8, 1945.
But though we could not turn out in person and remember those that gave their lives for us during World War II, socially distanced events were held in Welwyn Garden City, Welwyn, South Mimms, Potters Bar and Hatfield.
And, so we heard from Geoffrey Pulzer, a Brookmans Park veteran, who spent the end of hostilities drinking brandy in a German village.
And during June until the tail end of the month, Welwyn Hatfield also had several Black Lives Matter protests in response to the death of George Floyd in the US.