‘Team effort, we all believe that’

ONE OF the heroines of Guernsey’s response to the pandemic has said she feels shocked and humbled to have been made an MBE in the Queen’s New Year honours list.

(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29064937)
(Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29064937)

Former Health & Social Care president Heidi Soulsby has been honoured for her dedication, courage and compassion during Covid-19.

She said it had been a difficult and tumultuous year.

‘It was so surreal, I’ll never forget that day when we were going into Beau Sejour and telling everyone they had to go into lockdown. We knew it was the right thing to do, but we knew the enormity of it.

‘You don’t go into politics to restrict people’s freedom, you go in to make people’s lives better, and we were impacting so many people all at once, especially for the care homes, that was really hard. I just don’t want to go through that again.’

The pressure has eased since those days in March, April and May, but even then there were glimmers of hope and Deputy Soulsby said teamwork and the community spirit kept her going.

‘It’s all been a team effort. We all believe that, the strong community and the Guernsey Together spirit has really got us to where we are, that’s what has kept us going over this last year.

‘I’m really thankful to everyone in HSC for all they’ve done, from the front line staff to those who work behind the scenes, such as those who’ve provided us with the information and the advice we need to make decisions, that’s been really important.

‘And the other members of the committee, there were dark times and we had to make difficult decisions, but we worked together in an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect.’

She paid tribute to all the unseen people behind her.

‘I’ve got to thank my husband for all he’s done to keep things going while I’ve been working. He’s the one who had to do all the shopping.

‘I was so conscious of the fact that it was so important not to mess up in terms of doing the wrong thing in lockdown, so the only time I got out was going down to Beau Sejour for the press briefings, and getting my exercise on my bike for an hour.

‘He was the one that was queueing up outside the supermarkets and he kept me going with tea and biscuits as I was sat in front of a computer.’

The vaccination programme has now taken off some of the pressure, but new emerging strains of the virus mean there is an ongoing need for vigilance.

Also recognised on the New Year's honours list were Sue Flemming, Ronnie Cairnduff, Nikki Harrison and six people from Jersey.

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