Blaise Tapp: Kindness shines through in adversity

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In the recent history of Great Britain, these past few months must surely rank alongside the darkest.

In little more than 10 weeks the country has endured three outrages which have claimed the lives of ordinary members of the public, including children, and then came the nightmare which was Grenfell Tower.

On three of those occasions – the Manchester bombing, the London Bridge attacks and the North Kensington tower block inferno – much of the population woke up to the terrible news and followed the unfolding horror from their homes, cars and desks.

But, in a world which seems smaller than it ever has done, the public is doing more than simply watching events while shaking their heads in disbelief.

The reach of the media, both mainstream and social, is arguably at its peak, largely due to the fact that the public can have their say, but the immediacy of the news allows the suitably motivated among us to do more than just comment.

As we have seen time and time again the past few weeks, the public has stepped up to show its love and support to complete strangers. In the aftermath of the murder of 22 people in Manchester last month, a city really did come together as one, both to mourn those who perished and support their devastated loved ones.

The public displays of togetherness including mass vigils, huge fundraising drives,not forgetting many individual displays of generosity were admired globally although did not come as a surprise to anyone who knows Manchester.

When the nation was assaulted again 12 days later, we admired the bravery and stoicism of those affected by the London Bridge atrocity when they refused to be cowed by yet more criminals driven by a warped ideology.

To those motivated by a warped agenda of their own, the now well practiced routine of expressing defiance against those who would seek to divide us, is a pointless exercise when their solution involves knee jerk advances against human rights.

But it was the bitterly cruel events of last Wednesday morning in London, when so many lives were claimed by the remorseless blaze at Grenfell Tower, that we really did see a spontaneous display of unity, in a city which is so often dismissed by those who don’t know it as a place without communities.

Although there was understandable anger from many in the days that followed, it was the initial response of the immediate community and the capital in general which touched so many.

People of all races, religions and backgrounds pulled together, to ease the trauma of a disaster which has shocked a nation, one that was in danger of becoming numb to awful events and the collective grief which follows.

It was the sight of ordinary people taking time out from their own lives to take car loads of nappies, food, water and other supplies to makeshift community centres, which tipped me over the edge. Perhaps it was because they felt that they had been helpless to do anything to help during that terrible fire or that they were all big hearted individuals but these small acts of kindness didn’t go unnoticed..

Anybody with enough patience to read my self indulgent drivel will know how I have worried about Britain becoming less tolerant. In the past few weeks I have been proven wrong, although it has taken some truly horrible events to convince me.

Paula Dillon, President of Leeds Chamber Commerce.

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