The Indian community in County Derry has held an event to thank Northern Ireland for the support given to them locally during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sanjay Ghosh, of ImageNation NI, travelled to Coleraine to mark the event, and reserved special praise for local MLA Claire Sugden.
The East Derry MLA had assisted in providing information relating to travel and spoken to the group about ways to include and engage the diverse communities in future events and projects.
"‘When I learned of the kind gesture, I wanted to reach out to the people of Northern Ireland to thank them," said Sanjay.
"The kindness shown by Northern Ireland has made us feel proud to be part of this wonderful country. The help and support extended by MLA Caire Sugden in form of information was met with much relief.
"The oxygen generators being organised by minister Robin Swann are able to produce 100 litres of oxygen in one minute and will save lives."
Mayors of both Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council said they were delighted to be invited to the event.
"On behalf of Council, I want to thank Sanjay and everyone at ImageNation NI for reaching out in this way to express their thanks," said Causeway Coast and Glens Mayor Richard Holmes.
"The pandemic has had a profound impact here in Northern Ireland and around the world, not least for those families who have lost a loved one.
"But as well as this, there’s also been a renewed spirit of support and togetherness and today’s event was a timely opportunity to reflect on this.
"Whether through small gestures in our local communities or the sharing of resources between countries, we are certainly stronger when we work together to help each other."
Alderman Graham Warke, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane, said the co-operation between the communities was 'heart-warming'.
"The way that NI and India have been able to work together to supply vital materials to help in combatting this horrible disease is a really heart-warming example of positive collaboration that ultimately has saved lives," he said.
"I want to extend my best wishes to everyone in India as we move forward from what has been a difficult past 18 months for us all.
“Thanks to ImageNation NI also for allowing me to represent our district. They continue to do excellent work locally."
Claire Sugden MLA said the Indian community in Northern Ireland were 'highly valued'.
“Understanding the changing rules – such as those for quarantine, which tests were required and limits on travel itself – can be a complex task, but I was only too happy to help where I could and delighted it was of use,” she said.
“Hopefully the pandemic will ease, not just here, but across the world, allowing people to reconnect with friends and family and allow normal life to resume more fully.
“I would like to thank the entire Indian community for their support and thanks."
For the past 18 months, the world has been gripped by the Covid-19 pandemic; a period of tragedy, lockdown and frustration. But it has happened before. Liam Tunney concludes our Life in Lockdown series by looking back at County Derry's journey through the 1918-19 influenza epidemic and revealing a number of local similarities between them.
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