| 10.6°C Belfast

Editor's Viewpoint

Fundraising heroes during coronavirus outbreak an inspiration to all

Editor's Viewpoint


Veteran Tom Moore

Veteran Tom Moore


Veteran Tom Moore

Amidst all the fear, concern, accusations of incompetence directed at the Government and sheer bafflement as to how long the battle against coronavirus will continue, there have been heart-warming stories of how ordinary people have shown extraordinary humanity to help others less fortunate than themselves.

The shining example has been war veteran Tom Moore, who raised an outstanding £28m for NHS frontline staff by walking up and down his garden path 100 times to mark his approaching 100th birthday. His efforts captured the imagination of the media and then a global audience, but nearer to home we also have our fundraising heroes.

Royal Navy veteran Alexander Johnston, who served in convoys around the world during the Second World War, is making videos of himself playing his harmonica and is also taking requests to raise money for the NHS.

Here is a man who knows what it was like to face a deadly enemy in the north Atlantic, south Atlantic and Mediterranean and who wants to help those in the front line in the fight against coronavirus.

Maureen Lightbody, who also served in the war, is walking a 'Roman' mile - 1,000 steps a day - until her 95th birthday in July to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

This is a much-needed bonus for a charity at a time when there are fears cancer patients may be missing out on vital treatment because resources are concentrated on Covid-19.

The selfless efforts of these elderly people is the best possible answer to those who argue that age should be a determining factor as to who receives treatment for coronavirus if resources become more stretched.

They are an example of how all of us can play a part in bolstering the severely stretched NHS.

While it is easy to say with hindsight that greater planning to deal with potential pandemics should have played a part in government policy over the years, there is no doubt that the NHS was under-funded and under-resourced to a scandalous degree, given the money the Government has suddenly come up with to bolster the economy.

War veterans in the autumn of their lives know where our priorities should lie.

We should applaud them, not simply for their fundraising efforts, but also for reminding all of us to keep the most fundamental public service at the forefront of our minds.

Belfast Telegraph