Kiveton & Wales Heritage

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Corona virus lockdown

The situation we are now all experiencing takes my memory back 80 years. In 1939 I was a nine year old child waiting with my parents for an announcement on the wireless. Big Ben struck 10 AM on Sunday morning. A man's voice boomed out, "This is London. I have to tell you that the ultimatum given to Germany to withdraw its troops from Poland has not been honoured. We are therefore at war with Germany". This meant nothing to me, but I could see the look on my mum and dad's faces. They had both lived through the First World War with all its heartbreak and killing. What would this war bring? The future and the end were unknown in 1939.  We are now in a similar situation. The future and the end are again unknown. This time it affects the whole world, but it is an unknown enemy - the corona virus - killing many people who come into contact with it.        On Mother's Day my family came to see me. Although I have no family left in Kiveton Park, I have many friends who would help if needed, so I wasn't unduly worried. However, they had other ideas. They came to take me back with them for as long as it takes. So, at 89 years of age I have become an "evacuee". I packed a suitcase to travel with my family to my temporary home in the Hampshire countryside as many evacuees did in 1939. Day by day we are told of the number of deaths from this virus. During the war years many people died every night in the bombing. My own family lost loved ones when a direct hit bomb fell on the Marples Hotel in Fitzalan Square, Sheffield on Thursday night December 12th 1940 during the Sheffield blitz. Then we didn't have today's technology, no electricity in our homes, no telephones, no TV or Ipads, but we all had the friendship and closeness of each other to help us through it and carry on together. Today we are isolated and alone. Many who survived those war years now find themselves "imprisoned" in their homes, unable to have contact with loved ones and the outside world. Their food is delivered and left on their doorstep and they can only speak to someone at a distance of 2 metres. In 1939 without today's technology we were immediately supplied with a gas mask as they were a necessity then. Today our N.H.S. and front line workers are struggling to get the protection they need, which is a necessity now. Today in 2020 the schools are all closed, and the parents are having to find ways to keep their children occupied. During the second World War we went to school as usual, every day, even though at times we has spent all night in the air raid shelter. On the lane where I lived, the children still all played together. We collected souvenirs like the foil dropped from bombers during air raids, together with bits from the barrage balloons and parachutes which were trophies to be exchanged. My mum knitted thick socks, jumpers, balaclavas and scarves with wool that was impregnated with oil for the brave sailors in the convoys. They brought our food across the Atlantic, without which we would have starved. Today many people are making "scrubs", uniforms, masks and other items to help the brave front line workers. However, this corona virus has brought out the best in most people. There is the same great community spirit again. We stand on our doorsteps and clap our front line workers, to say, thank you, every Thursday evening, for the risks they are taking. Hopefully, someday soon, this lockdown will end. It will not be sudden like May 1945 when all the lights came on again, we danced in the streets and had parties with flags and bunting. It will be a slow return to normal, possibly over months not weeks, but the relief will be just as great as it was in 1945. In the meantime all we can do is - do what we are told to do - stay at home, protect the N.H.S. and save lives.

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