The strength of Swindon's community spirit was a positive to come out of the pandemic amid the tragedy, the town's health bosses have said.

Key players from Swindon's health scene contributed to the Director of Public Health Annual Report and their key message was the optimism they felt with people coming together to help others.

Steve Maddern, director of public health for Swindon Borough Council expressed his hope that as the UK moves forward from Covid, the town will take this sense of connection forward.

He wrote in his sum-up of the year: "Hopefully the years to come will build on the best of this crisis and our communities in Swindon will emerge stronger, more connected and more resilient than ever before.

"The fight against Covid is like being at war against an enemy that we cannot see. However, we have fought back and will continue to fight.

"We have learnt a lot across the past year, we know what works, what does not work and at the heart of it all, the hard work our residents and communities have put in to protect themselves and each other.

"Swindon: It’s up to all of us."

Great Western Hospital's chief executive Kevin McNamara had a similar message for volunteers, staff and general members of the public.

He said: “My unending gratitude goes to every member of staff, every volunteer and every member of our community who has stepped forward to support us through a year like no other.

"I will remember the spirit of Swindon and how it carried us through – it really has felt like Team Swindon.”

These words are backed up with figures which show how generous people have been over the last two years.

More than 200 volunteers supported vulnerable people, over 3,000 prescriptions were delivered to those shielding, 90 tonnes of food were distributed and more than 1.2 million pieces of PPE were given out in Swindon.

Voluntary Action Swindon CEO Pam Webb said: " There aren’t many positives to come out of Covid but one is the way that this unprecedented pandemic has brought people and services together, not only across the voluntary sector but with the Council and Parish Councils too.

"The collective and joined up approach of the statutory and voluntary services in Swindon during this time has been palpable and has forged mutual understanding, respect and collaboration that will be with us long after this pandemic is a memory”

“Despite the tragic stories of suffering and loss we’ve heard over the past year, we’ve also seen stories of hope and kindness across the town/

"Through sadness and difficulty, the pandemic has brought out the very best in people, and I would like to thank everyone who has played their part throughout the past year, to support their friends, neighbours and those most in need."