I’ve always maintained that Fife works best when Fife works together and during these traumatic days and weeks, there have been no limits to the generosity of local people
It all begins with the magnificent service – in hospitals, facilities and old people’s homes – of nurses, doctors, midwives, health workers and care workers risking lives to save lives, and making me proud of our National Health Service.
And across my home region the acts of kindness seem endless. Fife Health Board said this week it had been overwhelmed by the support of the public with donations, day after day, of personal protection equipment which is vital in keeping staff safe when dealing with, and protecting, patients.
They also said they had been humbled by the ingenuity of Fifers turning out medical supplies such as face visors made locally using 3D printers.
In Kirkcaldy, wedding dress designer Mirka Jankowska has been making sure nurses, doctors and other frontline health staff have the clothing they need during the pandemic. Her bridal shop has been turned into a hub to support the national effort which is now involving more than 300 volunteer machinists across Scotland producing medical scrubs for the NHS.
There are other heart-warming deeds such as Fife Voluntary Action Group teaming up with the NHS and council and 80 pharmacies in the kingdom to deliver life-saving prescriptions by car and van to those most in need.
We really don’t have to look too far for examples of how working together can change lives and save lives. The Courier has a regular online column called The Feelgood Feed which should tug at the heart strings of every reader. It is about people caring and I have no doubt it will continue to flourish throughout these difficult days.
Like the story of the four-year-old boy from Fife – Isaac McNamee from Thornton – who cycled, ran and walked more than 26 kilometres – 16 miles – over three days and raised more than £1,500 for the Bethany Christian Trust to help homeless people.
Foodbanks – a few days ago running short of provisions and under pressure with children out of school – are now being supported by donations such as the £18,000 from Fife and Dysart Trust, which emptied their savings to help people eat.
The DC Thomson Northwoood Trust giving £5,000 to local food banks – with a similar-sized cheque for Kirkcaldy’s Cottage Family Centre added on top of that.
I wrote in an international article this week that the consequences of lapses in international co-operation over the past few months can now be counted in lost lives. Now, having failed to stop the first wave of Covid-19, we must not make the same mistake again. And so we must co-operate across the globe
And one remarkable example of collaboration putting Fife on the global stage is the Dunfermline scientist at the forefront of efforts to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.
Mum-of-two Dr Kate Broderick is leading a team in San Diego, California, and working around the clock on a vaccine. She bravely admits fears for her own family – some of whom are back here in Scotland – are helping drive her in her pursuit to find a cure as soon as possible.
She knows that we cannot ultimately make our own country safe from Covid-19 unless we make the whole world safe – with a vaccine, cure and treatments available to all.
And even although people cannot meet as normal right now, I believe we are seeing how we are – and will continue to be, long into the future – connected across the world as never before.
Think of the group of Chinese-based former St Andrews University students who have donated almost 11,000 face masks to protect Scottish health workers. More than 4,500 masks have gone to each of NHS Fife and NHS Tayside and 1,000 to Fife Council’s health and social care carers’ network.
Caring and sharing – a bond and a link from one continent to another and a shining example of humanity at its best.
And while global interventions may feel so far removed from the current tasks we all face as individuals and families in getting through this crisis, there is so much for nations to learn from the bond of community.
If nations do not see beyond their borders and co-ordinate an international response, we will all suffer.
And what the kingdom of Fife is doing so magnificently right now – collaborating and co-operating – is something that could and should be replicated on the world stage.
One of the defining factors of this pandemic, I believe, is that across generations there seems to be a new understanding of each other’s plight.
I read about local schoolchildren using their time off to write a letter to care workers in a Saline nursing home.
One said: “’We decided to make these rainbows to show our appreciation to Bandrum Nursing Home and everyone on the frontline, putting themselves at risk of getting the coronavirus.”
It is a multitude of these selfless gestures that define us – thousands of local NHS staff, volunteers and workers helping and every day saving and preserving lives in hospitals and care homes, staffing our food shops and running our emergency services.