Stay home was the message, and only go outside for food, health reasons or work, and only then if you were unable to work from home.
The year started with the news of huge bushfires in Australia, and I’m sure a many us thought that this could be the defining event of 2020, but then Coronavirus or COVID-19 arrived. On the 11 March 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declared a dangerous virus outbreak called COVID-19 a pandemic. A couple of weeks later on the 23 March 2020 the UK was placed in ‘lockdown’ by the government to reduce the spread of the virus. The previous week people were asked to stay at home but then it became compulsory. This was enforceable by the police and you could be fined if you went out or travelled without good reason. A letter from the Prime Minister went to every household and we all learned something about ‘epidemiology‘, the ‘R number’ and ‘flattening the curve‘.
All pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops had to close, this included shops selling clothing, books and electricals, as well as hairdressers, bed and breakfasts, and markets. Shops that are exempt from closure included food retailers, pharmacies, hardware stores, corner shops, petrol stations, post offices, banks, newsagents, laundrettes and pet shops although many had to change their business model to continue operating. Panic buying led to shortages of essentials like toilet rolls, tinned food and pasta. The city centre became a distant location where you only went if you had no other option.
Locally, businesses such as House of Feasts on Crowland Road radically changed their business model. Social distancing was put into place in local shops. The Blue Boar, Mattoni, Sharon’s Snack Shop and Sue Ryder, as well as many other businesses in the village closed during the lockdown. You could still get a takeaway in the village but most outlets had reduced operating hours.
In this difficult time, the community pulled together to support each other. Many amazing people volunteered to support the nation at this time, whether it was sewing scrubs and clothing for hospitals and care homes, making visors, helping to deliver food, looking after neighbours and the vulnerable, delivering medicine, or any one of a multitude of other acts of kindness.
Heroes arose such as Captain Sir Thomas Moore (Tom was knighted on the 17 July 2020) popularly known as “Captain Tom” who raised over £30 million for NHS charities by doing 100 laps of his garden. We realised what was important, paramedics, midwives, nurses and doctors, supermarket workers, dustbin men, cleaners and many more who we may have taken for granted before.
Resident Amy Tillcock wrote a poem.
A new way of life is upon us
things will never be quite the same again,
We sit here watching the news for updates
wondering how, why and when… See more
It could be months before this is all over
or even years so it seems
At least when we fall asleep we can see friends and family in our dreams.
Missing everyone so much
Worrying about those close to me
Hoping we will all get through this and come out the other side safe and healthy.
Lots of people exercising
others slowly losing hope
Going to the supermarket causing great anxiety
wear gloves and don’t get too close.
For some, lockdown is a nightmare
Home is not their safe place
We need to keep telling the government
These people deserve a safe space!
Doctors, nurses and carers working harder than ever
Going into work and risking their own lives
Looking after the poor people affected
Wearing masks that muffle their cries.
Keyworkers helping the whole country
Lorry drivers delivering supplies
Binmen still emptying the bins
Pharmacy workers still there for advice.
Postmen and women delivering your letters,
Shopworkers stacking shelves like it’s a race against time,
Firefighters still putting out fires and Police officers still fighting crime.
Teachers still there for keyworkers children,
the rest of us teaching at home,
everyone online sharing resources,
help at the end of the phone.
So many people we are thankful for,
Keeping the nation going,
The rest of us must stay indoors,
Until we can see the spread slowing.
Isolation has its ups and downs,
some days good and some days bad,
Although there are often some frowns,
there are many reasons not to be sad.
Quality time spent with those we love,
Movie nights and little fingers in the sweetie tub,
Sunny days spent in the garden playing games,
even daring to camp out,
let’s hope it doesn’t rain!
Arts and crafts, long bubbly baths,
baking tasty treats and having little laughs.
Rainbows in windows and nature walks
PE with Joe Wicks and Video Calls.
Clapping on your doorstep,
all the neighbours clapping too,
for the NHS heroes,
there ready to help you.
Captain Tom walking laps of his garden,
making millions for the NHS,
inspiring a generation,
who knows what could happen next?
One thing is for certain
2020 will go down in history
And for those of us that lived through it,
Well, what an amazing memory!
And when this is all over,
And we can visit our family and friends,
We’ll give them hugs and tell them we’re grateful,
That we can be with them once again
The photos below were taken across the village during this time.
If you have any photos or comments you would like to add to this page please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Children (and adults) across the country have been chalking and drawing or using other inspired ways to create rainbows as a thank you to the NHS.
Tegan Friel (14) and twins Evie and Isla (8) decorated their house wall with a bright rainbow effect with the help of their neighbour Lily Privett (10). It even made it into the local newspaper.
Lovely rainbow picture by Chloe Porter in year six at Eye Primary School.
Rainbow pictures started springing up across the country after the trend started online.
And you can be any age and use many creative ways to create a rainbow.
Some families created lasting mementoes of this time. Instructions on how to create one are here.
Displays of the front of some of the buildings on the high street.
When the Coronavirus lockdown was announced there was a national call to clap at 8 pm on Thursday evening to thank the NHS, Carers and Key Workers. At 7.55 pm on Thursday 30 April 2020, just five minutes before the weekly clap a double rainbow appeared in the sky.
Thursday 7 May 2020 was the funeral of five-year-old Elliot Cantrell who sadly passed away from cancer on the 21 April. Social distancing rules meant attendances at funerals were limited to close family and up to 10 mourners. So instead hundreds of residents lined the High Street to show their respects. Many wore hats with ‘Elliott’s Army’ written on them and released blue balloons as Elliot passed through the village. It was also covered in the Peterborough Telegraph.
“Well, what on earth can I say Eye?! You did Elliott and his family so proud!! There really was a mile of love. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Elliot’s Army
Friday 8 May 2020 was the 75th anniversary of VE day. Victory in Europe (VE) Day commemorates the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces on Tuesday, 8 May 1945, marking the end of World War II in Europe. Homes across the village hung bunting and held tea parties in the front garden.
Her Majesty The Queen made a special address on the 75th anniversary of VE Day. On 8 May 1945, King George VI made a radio broadcast to the people of the Commonwealth to mark the end of war in Europe. The Queen’s address was made at the same hour as her father’s broadcast, exactly 75 years ago.
Jayne Stanton made these amazing sets of scrubs and wash bags for the hospital and care homes.
And some events continued, but in the home.
With time at home, many decided to have a sort out and hold sales or give stuff away from the front garden…
The parish churches in Eye, Thorney and Newborough were closed so services went virtual…
Despite pubs and restaurants being shut you could still order a takeaway such as Sunday lunch, pasta, or pizza, and fish and chips or curry. Damian Wawrzyniak changed House of Feasts from a restaurant to a bakery within weeks, selling sourdough loaves and baguettes. Sunday lunches for eating at home are also available.
Signage from the High Street…
Even the mighty McDonalds closed all their restaurants for a time. The McDonalds in Eye was actually one of the first to reopen in the country, but with a limited menu, and people came from all over the country to get their Big Mac and fries. One couple made a 250 mile round trip to Peterborough from Hull to grab a Mcdonalds. Police had to be called to one site in the city after huge numbers of customers rushed to one location when it re-opened.
At PE1 Peterborough Retail Park all shops, including Van Hague, closed. Only Maidenhead Aquatics and Pets Corner remained open for essential pet supplies.
During lockdown construction sites were allowed to stay open. Bluebell Place on the former Northam Brickyards site housing estate that was under construction had to implement new guidance.
Normally busy roads were quiet like they haven’t been for years. In fact, due to the lockdown air pollution dropped significantly across the country as everyone used their cars less. Dangerous Nitrogen oxide (NO2) dropped by more than half in some areas. Road traffic was reported to have fallen to 1955 levels.
Some things have to continue. Farmers managed to plant the majority of their crops despite the previous few months being very wet.
Nature continued on its yearly cycle, the bluebells came out, the hawthorn bloomed and the birds nested. Due to lower traffic noise, the dawn chorus sounded more vibrant than ever.
“We’ve just gone through a spring the likes of which none of us has ever experienced before. What you know though, through its darkest days. we’ve become to rely on one thing to help get us through, the natural world. And as this spring, this spectacular spring has continued to blossom and unfurl, we’ve has an opportunity to connect with nature in a way that we’ve never experienced before” Chris Packham CBE
And Captain Tom got to number one in the charts…
Sadly Captain Sir Tom Moore died on the 2 February 2021.
Updates: From the week beginning the 11 May 2020, there was a partial lift of the lockdown although most of the rules remained in place. From Monday 15 June, non-essential shops in England were allowed to reopen and on 4th July, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers were allowed to reopen after being shut since the start of the lockdown. On the 24 July it became mandatory to wear
Following an increase in Covid-19 cases and a second wave across Europe, a second lockdown was implemented across the country from Thursday 5 November to Wednesday 2 December 2020. Pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops have closed their doors and members of the public have been told to stay at home. Unlike the first lockdown, nurseries, schools, colleges and universities remain open. From the 2 of December, all areas of England went into a three-tiered system. Eye with the rest of Cambridgeshire went into tier two. Nearby Crowland was in tier three with the rest of Lincolnshire.
In December 2020 the first vaccines started to be administered. Who got the vaccine first was decided nationally, based on evidence-based advice from the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)See more
- Residents in a care home for older adults, and staff working in care homes for older adults
- All those 80 years go age and over, and frontline health and social care workers
- All those aged 75 and over
- All those aged 70 and over, and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals (not including pregnant women and those under 16-years-of-age)
- All those 65 years of age and over
- Adults aged 16 to 65 in at-risk groups
- All those aged 60 and over
- All those 55 and over
- All those 50 years of age and over
More localised areas and a new tier were introduced on the 19 December 2020. Eye with Peterborough went into tier three on the 20 December 2023 , then tier four on the 21 December.
See a timeline of events to December 2021 here.
Thank you to Parish Councillor Andy Short, Adam Miller and all those that have contributed to this page.
On the 5 May 2023 the World Health Organisation said COVID-19 is no longer a global health emergency, marking a symbolic end to the pandemic.
Nearby Newborough a lockdown page here.