Next Friday is Victory in Europe Day, writes Councillor Phil North, which this year marks 75 years since the allied armies reclaimed our continent to liberty. Although in eastern Europe the horrors of National Socialism gave way to another murderous tyranny.

How ironic then, that we can’t celebrate that hard-won freedom like they did in 1945 – with mass gatherings, street parties and the lighting of beacons.

But our current predicament doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate the heroes of WW2. Indeed, just as we’ve been celebrating our modern-day heroes by coming out of our houses and clapping every Thursday, I would urge you all to take part in the ‘Toast the Nation’ at 3pm on May 8, by raising a glass from the comfort of your own home.

As the Queen said in her recent broadcast, ‘the pride in who we are is not just part of our past, it defines our present and our future’ – and I think we can all be proud of the community response to the coronavirus crisis. Our Test Valley Community Helpline is taking around 60 calls a day from people who are isolating and have no existing support networks in place.

The fact we’ve got local groups operating in all our communities means we can easily organise someone to collect prescriptions, do some shopping or run errands on their behalf.

A big thank you to local health colleagues too, who have sent a joint letter from the chief executive and me to those people in the shielded category that have to isolate for 12 weeks. As well as receiving food parcels direct from government they now have all the information they require to request further help if they need it.

We are making progress in our national battle against coronavirus but only because we are all forming a human shield around the NHS by observing the rules on social distancing and protecting the most vulnerable from needing to go out. And although we seem to have passed the peak this is the moment of maximum risk.

The government is carefully considering when some restrictions may be lifted but do that too early and we could be back to square one.

So, let’s all follow the advice. Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

Or as Winston Churchill would say, ‘Keep Buggering On’.