Coronavirus: Market Drayton mayor calls for community effort to beat pandemic
"The time has come for us all to help one another," said the mayor of Market Drayton, with the UK locked down and people urged to stay indoors to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
This week Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced strict new measures on people's movements and said police could enforce the new restrictions.
Market Drayton mayor Roger Smith, a retired former firefighter, said the current crisis is like nothing he has experienced in his lifetime.
Public gatherings of more than two people are banned and most people should only leave their homes to shop for necessities, for exercise (but only once a day) or if their work is considered essential.
Councillor Smith said: "I would like to express my concern to each and every one one of you during these unprecedented times that we are currently experiencing and hope that you are able to stay safe and well during this difficult time.
"Please may I ask you that we all follow the guidelines which have been set by the government and do our utmost to help one another during this crisis.
"I would also like to express my sincere thanks on your behalf to all who work in the NHS service, paramedics and all other emergency and essential services for their continued support.
"The time has come for us all to help one another – particularly the elderly and people suffering from underlying health issues.
"Where it is possible may I respectfully remind you all please stay at home."
Two of Market Drayton's most successful outdoor events, a music festival and 10k, have been postponed.
The Rock and Bowl directors announced that the next festival will now take place next year.
The Müller Market Drayton 10k team also made the decision to postpone the next race to a date later this year, yet to be decided.
Reverend Jane Morris of Christ Church in Little Drayton had a message of solidarity for those affected by the measures, which she said were necessary.
She said: "I've had to lock up Christ Church this morning, which is very sad, but I understand why. The church is not the building, but its people, and so I would suggest that we continue to pray at home, and continue to love our neighbours, as Jesus commanded.
"We do this by following the instructions, by not stockpiling, by checking on our elderly and vulnerable neighbours, by prayer, and by being people of hope, even in these difficult days."
Market Drayton's deputy mayor Roy Aldcroft said he had been heartened by the response of some groups to the crisis.
He said: "Within Market Drayton we are seeing some innovative ways to support each other as the crisis deepens. Government broadcasts each evening bring us news of deaths across the world and warnings that we are next in line.
"Market Drayton's response is to gather together community resources and help each other: the response from local restaurants to provide bread and food parcels, this being delivered by volunteers to the vulnerable and elderly in town; teams of volunteers phoning and Skyping people who may be at risk; doctors and nurses at the local health centre, postmen, 999 services, refuse collection are all adapting services to respond to the virus.
"All we are asked to do is stay at home and keep our distance from others.
"There are three areas that I think anyone can help: make a little time to ring, write, or text folk who are living on their own; if you have the means support Market Drayton Foodbank who are desperate for food and finance as demand outstrips supply; heed government advice and in your interest, stay at home and keep your distance.