The NHS has been part of the fabric of British life for more than 70 years and yet, in all that time, our appreciation for their dedication, compassion and professionalism has never been so real.

In normal times, we turn to the GP for minor ailments, advice and guidance, we turn to the Hospital for serious health concerns and we are served by a team of carers, who will say they are ‘just doing their job’.

The current Covid-19 crisis has shaken us all but those in the NHS continue to ‘do their job’, despite the dangers. Our community has so many wonderful people working on the frontline and Torbay Weekly had the honour of speaking to one of our Bay Heroes, Torbay Hospital palliative nurse Kelly Lawler.

“It’s just my job,” said Kelly, in the unassuming manner we have come to expect from our quiet heroes.

“From the earliest stages, we could see it was a very serious situation and things were being put in place to prepare the Hospital.

“We were acutely aware of what needed to be done, the Hospital managers and senior staff communicated with the doctors and nurses to work out the possible future impact.

“There is a considerable difference when going into work at the moment. It is surreal, it is sad and obviously difficult for everyone at the Hospital, as well as across the community.”

The opportunity to show our gratitude has been given a platform by the Clap For Our Carers movement, when people around the country take to their doorsteps at 8pm every Thursday evening to applaud those on the frontline of this health war.

For Kelly and her colleagues, the appreciation is an emotional moment that also brought home the importance of adhering to the social distancing rules that will hopefully bring this nightmare to an end.

“It’s strange and humbling because, for us, it is just what you have done every day,” said Kelly.

“The applause was amazing and so emotional. I just went back in my house and cried because you think about all the people out there doing such fantastic work; the delivery drivers, shopworkers, cleaners, everyone.

“The rules are so important and we can only ask people to abide by them. The alternative could be overwhelming for every hospital.

“It is frustrating if people do flaunt the rules because the only request is to stay home with your families. I know it must be hard for people on their own or without a garden but if we all follow the rules, it will hopefully be over sooner.”

Kelly lives in Torquay with her family, including a husband who also works at Torbay Hospital, two children in secondary school, an elder daughter who has her own place in the Bay and parents living nearby.

As well as fighting this unseen enemy, she is living through the same family separation as so many in our community.

“Nobody has experienced anything like this before and it is surreal and intense,” said Kelly. “I am in the same boat in the sense that I can’t be with my eldest daughter, as she is grown up and lives away from home.

“I also have my parents nearby but you end up playing knock, knock, ginger….leaving supplies on their doorstep and run away.”

Torbay Weekly salutes Kelly and all our Bay heroes.

As the saying goes, heroes don’t always wear capes, they are just ordinary people doing the extraordinary, just doing their job. #BayHeroes #NaturallyInspiring