20 May 2020 –

The following is an extract from my speech, delivered on Tuesday 20 May, 2020.

Tonight, I’ll give a personal reflection on how the Queensland response to Coronavirus is progressing.

Presently, we have 1,058 cases, 6 lives taken tragically. It could have been far worse.

I remember the early predictions. They were not pretty.

I want to talk about Anthony Lynham – Anthony Lynham from Burnham-on-Sea in England.

He is one year older than me, married to Gaynor.

We’ve been in contact via the internet for some years now (I think Anthony Googled his name and found me). We’ve been friends since, but have never physically met. Anthony and Gaynor have five boys, while Pam and I have four.

Let me tell you about Anthony’s eldest son, Stephen. He was dearly loved: a fine musician; he loved the sea cadets; he joined the Royal Navy; he sailed the world. Stephen met and married Denise. They have two lovely children, Jack and Jodie. Stephen was fit and well.

On Saturday, May 2, Anthony and Gaynor lost their eldest son, Stephen, to COVID-19.

This event has been devastating for them all.

To date [at time of writing], 35,341 people have died from COVID-19 in the United Kingdom. Taking population into account, if that was transferred to Queensland we’d have 5,000 deaths. We have six.

I am here in Australia, in Queensland. I think of my four boys and I thank Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk; Steven Miles, Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services; and Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Jeanette Young – for staying strong, backing the evidence, and protecting my family.

I’m deeply saddened that my friend – the other Anthony Lynham – has lost his eldest, Stephen, leaving behind Denise and two children.

I finish with Denise’s words: Please, take this seriously. Stick to the rules, so that others don’t have to go through the heartache that we are going through. Stay safe.

Indeed, to everyone – my colleagues, to families in Stafford, to families in Queensland: Stick to the rules, stick to the evidence, stick to the advice, and stay safe.