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"We are a resilient community"

by Michael Ford last modified 05 Mar, 2019 11:57 AM

The Rector of Salisbury’s St Thomas' Church has said that the people of his city will not be defined by the Novichok poisonings that took place last year.

"We are a resilient community"

Revd Inglis preaching- original photo by Gerry Lynch

Revd Kelvin Inglis said: "We are a resilient community."

Speaking in a open letter to the Press, the Rector of the ancient city centre church continued:
"I have seen first-hand how the events of the past year have changed our city. The early days of March 2018 were extraordinary. Our quiet but beautiful city found itself at the centre of international interest following the poisonings of Sergei of Yulia Skripal. If there is one defining characteristic of people in this country, it is an ability to carry on with good humour."

"Salisbury was always a vibrant city but I believe we have come out of the challenges of the last year with a stronger sense of the values we share. The people of Salisbury want nothing more than to be able to get on with their lives.

"We were, and are still trying to show that Salisbury will not be defined by all of this, but by its resilience in the face of challenge and its shared community values. There is so much in this fine city that speaks of culture and goodness.

"The city is too good to allow the single events of last year to colour others’ perceptions for long. On 3 March the annual Charter Sunday service took place at our church. This celebrates nearly 800 years of civic history.

"The procession of the local dignitaries in their full regalia makes a splendid spectacle but what it represents is what matters. This is about the values of our community. We affirmed our belief in the rule of law, in the right to live in peace, and the tradition of care for the vulnerable in our midst. All this came under attack last year and we have a stronger sense now that we share these values.

Kelvin was speaking as St Thomas's held their tri-annual civic service and remembered the attacks and their victims. March 4th is the first anniversary of the first Novichok attack which poisoned Mr Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Local policeman, Det Sgt Nick Bailey also fell ill after responding to the incident in Salisbury.

A separate Novichok poisoning, that police linked to the first, happened on 30 June, which led to the death of Dawn Sturgess.

Ms Sturgess and her partner Charlie Rowley became unwell at a house in Amesbury, she later died in hospital on 8 July.

Kelvin said the first attack happened one year ago when the city was facing a very different issue:
"We had been dealing with the snow - which was most unusual - and then we were coping with the world media."

The media has descended on the city again, with a live broadcast by BBC Points West on Friday night, radio interviews and articles in local and national papers.

Looking back to last year, he said:
"Once the media left, normal life continued in a rich mix of commercial, industrial, cultural and community activity. Salisbury is a strong and happy community and people feel blessed to live here.

"The city has led the way in charitable works, being home to the Trussell Trust and Alabaré, and the generosity and kindness of the people here is a notable part of how this city conducts itself.

"It continues to be one of the most beautiful cities in the UK, if not the world."

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