Article for December Messenger

By the time you read this hopefully some of the second lockdown restrictions might be lifted, so that we can celebrate Christmas and New Year with friends and family. As we get closer to the festive season it seems appropriate to reflect on the last 9 months and be thankful that we live in such a strong community with so many people willing to volunteer their time and skills to help others.

I  am reluctant to “name names” as they really are too numerous to mention, and I would hate to miss  someone out, but special thanks should go to Phil Brady and his PCCA volunteers who have  played a major role in getting us through this difficult time. Food distribution, prescription delivery and shopping were important practical tasks but understanding the mental and physical toll of social isolation was also important and they were lucky to have had Sylvia Clayden on board to offer knowledgeable advice on this too. Thank you to all of them.

Of course, we are still a considerable way away, even with the promise of vaccines, from being  “back to normal”, and many in our community continue to work long hours and isolate from their families and friends in order to keep us safe and well. Front line workers such as NHS staff, and care workers are perhaps the most obvious people we think of but we must not forget our clergy, teachers, shop workers, refuse collectors, postal staff, delivery drivers, local businesses and all the other people who keep essential services running. Shopping locally has become more of a necessity this year, but it would be nice if we could thank the dedicated shopkeepers and businesses of Pewsey with our continued loyalty and custom even when restrictions ease.

Looking forward to 2021, and hopefully a time beyond Covid-19, it would be lovely to think that the goodwill and selfless service shown by so many in the community will continue. Of course, the village is already blessed with numerous volunteer groups and services, some of which have managed to continue in a revised format throughout the pandemic and others which have had to suspend activities. I am confident that they will all be keen to resume their activities as soon as they are able, but of course new volunteers are always needed so if anyone has a few hours to spare they are sure to receive a warm welcome.

For my own part, I would like to thank my fellow Parish Councillors, who work year-round to try and ensure Pewsey remains a great place to live. Their work may not be obvious but be assured that it would be very noticeable if they were to stop. Next year several members of the council will be retiring after many years of loyal service so if anyone is interested and has time to commit on a regular basis, we would be happy to hear from them.

We are very lucky to have 2 Community First Responders in our village, namely Andy Stride and Monica Ford, who between them have clocked up 15 years (unpaid) service. They are trained by the South West Ambulance Service: initial training and regular ongoing sessions to update and maintain skills. They then work on-call shifts (on average 12 hours per week) to attend emergency calls and provide immediate life-saving care to patients with conditions such as breathing difficulties, chest pain, loss of consciousness, seizures, stroke and cardiac arrest, until an ambulance arrives. In some instances, they are even able to provide care which means that an ambulance is no longer required (such as helping someone up after a non-injurious fall using a Raizer lifting chair).  You may have seen them in their green uniforms A picture containing icon

Description automatically generatedwhen they are on call, and assumed they were paid NHS staff, but they are volunteers, and we are extremely lucky to have them both.

Continuing the health theme: Some years ago, Cllr Phil Stevens and Nigel Lihou organised fundraising for defibrillators which are situated in the following places: –

•         Pewsey Metals Scrapyard Wilcot Road

•         Pewsey Tennis Club Easterton Lane Recreation Ground

•         Pewsey Wharf, The Waterfront Cafe, Marlborough road

•         Aura Beauty Studio, Swan Meadow/Green Drove

•         Bus Shelter Market Square

•         On Wall, Milton Road

•         Scout Hall, Aston Close

•         The Coopers Arms 37-39 Ball Road.

These units are regularly checked and maintained by Cllr Dave McGarry and his wife Suzanne. Thank you to both of them.

Pewsey is lucky to have many other  volunteers who work “behind the scenes”,  supporting the Carnival, Pewsey and District LINK, Bouverie Hall, Community Tea Rooms, Memory Cafe, Heritage Centre, U3A, numerous  Sports Clubs, Exercise Groups, Litter picking and many other activities and services. If you have enjoyed volunteering during the past months and wish to find out more about how you can continue to get involved, please contact either Dawn Wilson or Susie Brew, via the Pewsey Community Area Partnership Web Site. They will be pleased to hear from you and will be able to help match your time, skills and interests with organisations looking for volunteers.

Take Care Everyone and Keep Safe

Curly Haskell, Chairman, Pewsey Parish Council


Merry Christmas from all your Parish Councillors

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