Lancashire actress (and Northern Soul favourite) Julie Hesmondhalgh has recorded a poem in a bid to raise awareness and funds for Accrington-based charity, Maundy Relief.

Two Metres Apart, written by East Lancashire writer Jo Dearden, highlights the ways in which the COVID-19 crisis has brought people in the UK together and asks if this sentiment will continue once lockdown is over and everyday life starts to return to normal. Maundy Relief provides a range of services for those in need, including counselling for those in mental distress, companionship for the lonely, food parcels for the hungry, housing for the homeless, and advice for those battling bureaucracy. The charity aims to provide an immediate and non-judgemental response to those in poverty and distress.

Scroll to the bottom of this article for the video. 

Main image: Julie Hesmondhalgh (image credit: Elspeth Moore)

Two Metres Apart

by Jo Dearden

Before this corona thing started,

nobody minded the gap

of food banks and zero hour contracts

You never heard anyone clap


And yes, we all panicked, divided

as the shelves in the stores were stripped bare

The haves stashed some more in their pantries,

have-nots went without their fair share


But then we all had to take notice

of the starkest advice, which was sound

Stay six feet apart, horizontal

or six feet apart, underground



…this bug doesn’t care if you’re famous

with status or wealth to your name

A body, is a body, is a body

Everyone’s cells are fair game


The prince, cocooned in his castle

The lass on the till in the store

The doctor, the bin man, the banker

The guy with a 10 on his door


And while we are caught in this moment,

trapped in the here and the now

This crisis has brought us together

in so many ways, and here’s how


It’s made us appreciate people

who can’t just pop round any more

We Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp and House Party

and leave bags of food by the door


It’s brought us much closer to Nature

To bright moons, to birdsong and snails

Hedge funds are now being managed

by goats in Llandudno in Wales


And it’s made us give thanks for the small things

those green shoots that reach for the sun

A reminder that Spring can’t be locked down

and ‘life’ really does carry on





Workers who are key

All in this together


And them

And me




So when this corona thing’s over

and the safety net’s been packed away

do the ‘needy’ turn back into scroungers

on seventy pounds ESA?


Or will there be change for the better?

Will we each save a space in our heart

and remember the time we felt closer

When we all stood two metres apart.



Find out more about Maundy Relief and the work it does here. If you would like to donate to Maundy Relief, you can do so here.