A round of applause for those who help others

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Anyone watching the leaders’ election debate that was televised last night will have seen an occasionally amusing pantomime that was long on sloganeering and confrontation but may not have inspired the greatest confidence in the country’s future.

At the risk of sounding holier-than-thou about the issue, we’d perhaps recommend that politicians paid attention to the selfless actions demonstrated by some of the people featured in today’s News for a guide on how to build a better nation.

To start with, look at the glowing dedications paid to Shirley Millard, who has finally stopped volunteering for Oxfam after 28 years. Her managers cannot speak highly enough of her, and her colleagues seem indistinguishable from friends. High praise indeed.

Then turn to page 11, and look at the story of Portsmouth’s dial-a-ride service. Its previous incarnation faced the axe because the city council decided the subsidy was too high, but two former staff members, Kerron Barnes and Tracey Jones, have set up a not-for-profit company in a bid to make sure that those who need transport can still use it.

And in our final stop of a whistlestop tour of reasons to be cheerful, the story of Izzy Herridge on page 19 will warm the coldest of hearts. Izzy had leukaemia as a two-year-old, but three years later is in remission.

Now she and her family spend their free time collecting for children who are in hospital –presents at Christmas, and Easter eggs at this time of year.

Now, of course we recognise that we cannot – nor should we – rely on volunteers to provide essential public services. That’s why we pay taxes.

But that’s no reason why we shouldn’t applaud those who – for whatever reason – care enough about their fellow human beings to put themselves out for others. The three stories above are by no means unique in The News, as we have the pleasure of running similar tales every day of the year. But when listening to politicians (of whatever hue) pontificating, remember those who don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk.