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Coronavirus: Northern Ireland head boys and girls post inspirational messages for health workers and elderly


Jamie Harkin and Katie-Ellen McGillen

Jamie Harkin and Katie-Ellen McGillen

Jamie Harkin and Katie-Ellen McGillen

Head boys and girls in schools across Northern Ireland have been posting inspirational messages supporting health workers, the elderly and others affected by the coronavirus crisis.

The trend was started by Drumragh College’s Jamie Harkin and Katie-Ellen McGillen, who began by thanking their teachers after this week’s spate of school closures.

Omagh student Jamie is no stranger to considering the plight of others having created a calendar – Pockets of Positivity – in memory of his late English teacher Graham Peters who tragically passed away in 2017 after battling cancer.

The Drumragh message from Jamie and Katie on Facebook reads as follows:

“To our teachers, we thank you.

"We thank you for the many times you put us before yourselves to prepare us for our final exams and in everyday life at school. All of your hard work will never be forgotten, and we are sad we cannot go in and smash those final exams and do you proud in the ways we have done in the past.

“To our friends and school community, thank you. We thank you for the many years of friendship, all the laughter and all of the memories. We didn’t expect it to be cut short so soon, but it has. Now we need to look after each other and do all we can to help the most vulnerable at this very trying time.

“To the NHS workers and everyone on the frontline who is looking after us all at this traumatising time and risking their own lives doing so, a ‘thank you’ will never be enough for you. What you are doing and continue to do is simply amazing and it is difficult to express our gratitude to you in words but thank you.

“To the superheroes who aren’t wearing capes in our community and across the globe right now who are running errands for the most vulnerable, even just checking up on people self-isolating down the road, getting people their prescriptions, delivering supplies to those in need and just being selfless incredible people – we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

“To those who have been left unemployed because of this pandemic or those who are struggling financially at this difficult time, we have you in our thoughts and prayers. We will get through this, but only if we work together. Thank you for remaining strong and calm. Never forget that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“To the vulnerable, the elderly and those at high-risk of catching COVID-19 or those currently suffering – please be strong. You are in our thoughts and prayers. You will get through this; have faith… we believe in you.

“To those in the world at this time helping turn adversity into advantage – we see you and you are amazing. To those businesses who are putting need over profit at this difficult time by offering food to those less able, by setting up community initiatives to give back to the community who give to you; you are making the world a better place and the world sends you a great amount of gratitude.

“To everyone who has been affected by COVID-19, directly or indirectly… in the words of Buzz Lightyear, “The important thing is that we stick together.”

“Let’s stick together. Let’s unite as one and let’s show the world that we can be kind, caring and compassionate. Let’s do that now before it’s too late. Let’s love one another and hold our loved ones close because tomorrow is never promised.”

Jamie’s desktop calendar, containing daily quotes, raised over £10,000 for charity after going on sale before Christmas last year.

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