COUNCIL leaders across north Shropshire have come together to reassure residents over COVID-19 fears.

The mayors of Whitchurch, Wem and Ellesmere have also all reiterated the government’s message on self-isolation and staying safe.

Councillor Bev Duffy, mayor of Whitchurch, says everybody has a role to play in defeating the virus.

“We are in extraordinary times,” said Cllr Duffy. “We have seen a nightmare situation unfold in Italy and we must do all we humanly can to stop it happening here.

“Every person in our town has a role to play. It is vital that we stay at home wherever we possibly can. Going out needlessly endangers us and endangers others – please do not do it.

“Staying at home will not only save you, it will save your family, save your friends, save your friends’ families, save the town. It is not enough to just think of yourself.

“COVID-19 is not just a flu. It is a new disease and we have no immunity to it. We cannot ignore it and carry on as normal.”

She continued: “We must stay together as a community and we must all stand united to support and care for each other in any way we can. Many small groups are springing up to support people – street groups, local organisations, to offer help such as a friendly phone call, or picking up shopping, essential supplies and medication or posting mail.

“If you are a lead contact for your group please get in touch with Whitchurch Town Council at the Civic Centre on

“Your group can be added to the list that Whitchurch Town Council is compiling and local people asking for help or offering help can be directed to the nearest help group.”

Meanwhile, Wem mayor Cllr Phil Glover says residents should think about the needs of their neighbours.

“As more and more people in the community over the coming days will be required to self-isolate, please help each other as best you can to get through this period of anxiety, uncertainty and potential loneliness,” said Cllr Glover.

“Please think about the needs of your neighbours, especially the elderly and vulnerable. Give them a call to check they’re okay.

“Make sure they have food and other essential items, check whether they need help with shopping and make sure they have your phone numbers.

“Please do not panic buy, if we are sensible there will be enough food for everyone.”

And Ellesmere mayor, Cllr Paul Goulbourne, said the coronavirus pandemic will be a test for his residents, but has praised the sense of community spirit the outbreak has fostered.

“During my year as mayor one of my main objective has been to try to build on with the amazing sense of pride and community we feel for our little town,” said Cllr Goulbourne.

“This is the very reason we moved to Ellesmere 18 years ago.

“I didn’t envisage that this sense of community spirit would be in demand in a scenario like the one we now find ourselves in.

“It has become clear that we are now facing a fast-developing situation in our response to COVID-19. Undoubtedly this will test each one of us in new and unprecedented ways, with many frightened people out there.

“But we know that the qualities that define Ellesmere – our sense of pride, togetherness and cooperation – can be relied upon.

“In essence, our over-arching response to COVID-19 will be underpinned by our need to be kind to everyone.

“We know our wonderful communities are already organising volunteer responses.

“Whether it is checking on vulnerable neighbours or offering calm reassurance to friends and loved ones, we can all play a part.”

Cllr Goulbourne said residents should get in touch if they are suffering symptoms or are high risk, so the council can support them, including deliveries of food, essential items and prescriptions and calling or video calling to check in.

“What has been achieved in the last few days has proved to me that we are a town that pulls together when required,” he added. “I have no doubt that we will all rise to the challenge.

“Finally, I would urge everyone to take heed of the Prime Minister’s advice to keep away from public areas as much as possible, and if you have to go to the shops, keep to the recommended advice on social distancing and hand washing.

“I would advise you to read the government guidance. The sooner we do this the sooner we can get back to some normality.

“Remember by ignoring this advice you can inadvertently kill someone.”