This week’s coronavirus column has been written by Toni Brodelle, the 2019 Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Wycombe.

She said: “My paternal grandfather was in the Royal Navy and served on a minesweeper during WW2. He and his shipmates took part in the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk beaches in 1940.

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“That operation saw the evacuation of almost 340,000 Allied soldiers by military and civilian boats. Approximately 50 of those boats were military destroyers.

“The remainder was made up of what became known as “The Little Ships” - merchant vessels, fishing boats, pleasure craft, yachts and lifeboats rallying to the aid of their fellow countrymen.

“It was an incredible feat achieved through dogged determination not to abandon those on the frontline in their hour of greatest need.

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"It saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

“Right now, we are faced with a different type of battle, being fought on entirely different battlegrounds.

“Our hospitals and care providers are on the frontline of the battle of the fight against Covid-19 and they are doing so at a time when there is unprecedented demand for their services and immense strain on resources, particularly of the personal protective equipment (PPE) they desperately need to keep them safe.

“As a teacher, I feel an immense sense of solidarity, as well as a huge sense of public duty and gratitude for those fighting this disease and saving lives in unthinkable conditions.

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“As such, I decided to do what I could to help by launching a social media appeal to get as much PPE as possible to those on the frontline in our area.

“I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the incredible response from our community.

“Our local schools have donated PPE, including goggles and gloves, from their science and technology stores.

“Other schools are deploying their 3D printing machines to print headbands and visors for frontline staff.

“Wycombe companies are donating 3D printed visor headbands, which are then being assembled with laminated sheets donated by many others across the community to make safety visors.

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“We have an amazing group of people manning laminators to make sure the visor shields are rigid enough to be effective and we have other incredible groups sewing elastic head straps to attach to face masks to ease the discomfort felt by staff after wearing them for 12+ hour-long shifts.

“Yet another incredible group are sewing scrub wash bags, which enable clinical scrubs to be removed at the end of a shift and safely washed.

“The Wrights Meadow Centre and the Spindle & Thread have both generously donated snacks to help lift the spirits of those working on the frontline and yet more groups are delivering muffins, meals and hot drinks.

“There is a very active Mutual Aid network working to support those in need and I am hearing every day of the very many acts of community spirit and kindness being shown at what is a challenging time for us all, all whilst adhering to government rules on social distancing and staying at home.

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“All of the people involved - every single one - is a ‘little ship.’

We are all committed to supporting those on the frontline, who are working so hard for us all, in their hour of greatest need.

“I have lived in Wycombe since I was three or four-years-old and I have always been immensely proud of our community.

“Despite our challenges, we excel at coming together and this had been proved yet again by the outstanding community-wide response to this - and similar - appeals to support our frontline workers.

“I am incredibly proud and humbled to see our community pulling together in this way. I have a feeling that my grandfather would be too.

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“If you are able to join us in our appeal to support our frontline staff, please get in touch by emailing me on, contact me on Twitter, @ToniBrodelle or by Facebook, ToniBrodelleWorkingForWycombe.

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