What comes to mind when you think of the word ‘sacrifice’? For many, it will mean giving up something valued for the sake of something else more important or a more worthy cause. We have all been making sacrifices throughout this year in one way or another.
As we head into a time of year when our thoughts turn to those who have sacrificed so much for our community and country, we are once again being asked to give up something that we value for the greater good as we begin the second period of lockdown that we have gone through this year. Being the start of November, it comes at a time when we always stop to reflect more than usual about what it means to sacrifice. This year is no different in that respect. We will, of course, stop to think at the appropriate moments. However, we also need to consider what we are all being asked to do in our fight against our current opponent.
Shutting up shop
As we begin a four week period of spending more time at home than we have been doing in recent months, it is so important that we ensure we are familiar with the guidelines that we are being asked to follow. Whether we like it or not, these are the rules and they are not asking us to do anything unsurmountable. As well as continuing to follow the basics that we have been reminded about since early this year – maintaining good hand hygiene, wearing a mask or face covering in situations where we are asked to do so, and ensuring that we remember to distance ourselves appropriately from those who are not in our household or bubble – it is vitally important that we know what we can and cannot do under the latest regulations. Everyone in our town will, I have no doubt, be more comfortable going out and interacting with our loved ones, friends and colleagues when we are able to do so once again and have the ability to know that we are keeping each other safe; provided that we do one thing: sacrifice.
Whilst we all want life to return to some sort of normality, the ability to do so will come at a cost. That cost might include not being able to visit “in-person” the homes of our family without good reason, not being able to take a walk into Louth and support our businesses that are not allowed to be open, or be able to utilise some of the wonderful facilities that we have in our town which we would ordinarily use to maintain good physical and mental health and help us to relax. No one is going to pretend that life will be easy over the coming weeks. But the more compliant we are with following the rules, the sooner the worst will be over and we can begin to sacrifice less.
Speaking of our fabulous local shops and businesses … If you do need to do some essential shopping this month, please do try to support as many of our local businesses as possible. 2020 has been a hard time for so many of them. I commend them for putting systems in place that mean they can continue to trade, either by providing delivery services or click-and-collect opportunities. We are incredibly lucky to have an array of shops that will continue to be open over the next few weeks and will, I’m sure, appreciate your custom. To those who are not eligible to remain open; we look forward to supporting you when you reopen. They are giving up so much for a worthy cause and it is important that we remember that when the time comes for us to be able to shop with them again.
Like everything at the moment, events are not able to go ahead in the format that we have become so used to. This year’s Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day commemorations were, unfortunately, never going to look like they have done in any ‘normal’ year.
It was with a heavy heart that a decision was taken in good time by all of those involved in the organisation to alter the way in which the annual Remembrance Sunday proceedings could be marked, albeit without the usual ceremonial, for the safety of both the large number of participants and also for the tremendous amounts of the public who I know feel it important to attend each year. A plan had been put in place to hold a service at St James in a secure manner which adhered to social distancing requirements. I’m well aware of how disappointing this was for many people who would normally have attended at the War Memorial on the Sunday morning for the parade and to mark the silence at eleven o’clock. Very regrettably, this was the only option available at the time the decision needed to be made in order to ensure the safety of everyone and to be compliant with the rules in place at that point. It was a necessary and unfortunate sacrifice in the circumstances.
As we are all well aware, things have progressed since then and due to the lockdown situation that we now find ourselves in, the planned formal service cannot now take place at all indoors, gatherings in large numbers are not allowed and the geography and lack of road closures around our town’s War Memorial mean that it would be difficult to facilitate any sort of formal outdoor event. The Mayoress and I will lay a wreath on Saturday at St James on behalf of Louth Town Council, in the same informal way in which all of the organisations that typically lay wreaths are being asked to do this year.
I would encourage the people of our town to mark the two minute silence at 11am at home or on their doorsteps. We all must look after one another and make our own sacrifices while we remember those who gave so much including the ultimate sacrifice.
One person that has always supported and facilitated commemorations in our town for the last eight years is the Rector of Louth, the Reverend Canon Nick Brown.
It was recently announced that Nick and his family will be leaving Louth soon in order for him to take up a position as the new Precentor of Lincoln. Whilst I, like many in our town, will be sad to see him leave, I would like to thank Nick on behalf of our town for the work and leadership he has shown within our community in recent years and wish him and his family all of the very best in this exciting time as he takes up responsibility for worship and music at Lincoln Cathedral. I know Nick will do a fantastic job in his new appointment.
Nick very graciously agreed, as he has for many of my predecessors, to act as Mayor’s Chaplain for my mayoral year. I will be working with Nick on who will succeed him for the remainder of my year and look forward to making that announcement soon.
As I alluded to earlier, we head into another uncertain time over the weeks ahead. Hopefully we learned from the first lockdown earlier this year what our individual challenges and opportunities were. Please do pick up the phone and call or message your family and friends. You never know what they might be going through and a simple act of kindness could really make a difference to their day. Likewise, if you are finding things tough; do speak to someone or seek assistance. No one needs to struggle and we need to be there for everyone in our society. Let’s keep looking after each other and by following the guidelines, making those sacrifices and remaining positive we can look forward to brighter times head. Stay safe until next time.