On Thursday, I joined thousands of others across Tameside out on my doorstep giving our NHS workers a huge round of applause. It wasn’t just here though – millions of people in every single town, city and village across Britain was out on their doorsteps, in their gardens, on their balconies or leaning out of their open windows cheering and applauding.

It’s a moment that I’ll remember for a very long time and a wonderful heart-warming few minutes during a very difficult and worrying time. More importantly, we were all doing the small amount we could do to show our appreciation and admiration for everything that NHS staff are doing to keep us safe at this time.

That isn’t just doctors and nurses, but administrators, porters, cleaners, healthcare assistants, physiotherapists and many others. They are all putting their own safety at risk every day for us. This has sadly been brought home for us in recent days with the tragic news of frontline NHS workers losing their lives to this virus. We owe all of our NHS workers a huge debt of gratitude and should never take their service for granted.

But our community heroes go far beyond the NHS. We must also be grateful to those working in social care looking after our most vulnerable, or in the retail ensuring that we have decent supply of food, or in our local council keeping vital services running. There are millions of people across the country doing their bit to support us through the crisis. It is a very stressful time for many of these people and many are not getting the appreciation that they deserve.

Then there are the volunteers – kind-hearted individuals giving their time to help out those in need. It says something about our country that so many hundreds of thousands of people responded to the call for NHS volunteers. I am hearing so many fantastic stories of people and businesses in our area going out of their way to help others and so thank you once again to all of the brilliant volunteers in Tameside!

Finally, I think we all need to be grateful to each other for following the NHS’s guidance on self-isolation and social distancing. By doing this, we are all, in our own way, reducing the spread of this virus and saving lives.

So thank you to all our community heroes in the NHS and elsewhere. Let’s all help them do their jobs by staying at home.

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