“THERE is a light at the end of this nightmare” according to the mayor of Gillingham, as key figures across the Blackmore Vale voice their support for the latest national lockdown.

Following Monday night’s announcement by the Prime Minister, Mayor Barry Von Clemens added: “I fully support the new restrictions, it is vital that we all follow the government guidelines.

"There is a light at the end of this nightmare, but to get there we have to follow the guidelines and stay at home.”

Salisbury Journal: Gillingham mayor Barry Von ClemensGillingham mayor Barry Von Clemens

Shaftesbury mayor Andy Hollingshead added: "I support the decision by the government to move us into a full lockdown. The rapid spread of the coronavirus in the last couple of weeks presents not only a heightened risk to ourselves but also a dangerous escalation of demand on our local hospitals and doctors surgeries.

“I know the people of Shaftesbury will rise to the challenge as they did last March and support their community by following the rules and staying safe.”

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Simon Hoare, MP for north Dorset, is also in support of the third national lockdown.

On Twitter he said: "[The] announcement by Boris Johnson is regrettable but unavoidable. He’s right: it’s annoying/going to be hard but we must stand together and play our part.

"Fullest support possible to school children [is] needed and educators MUST have early vaccination to allow schools to open as soon as they can."

Mr Hoare was approached for comment.

Salisbury Journal: North Dorset MP Simon HoareNorth Dorset MP Simon Hoare

Also on the subject of children and education, Councillor Von Clemens said the science has demonstrated why schools needed to be closed again, despite many opening to pupils on January 4.

He said: "It is extremely sad that this pandemic has caused our young peoples' education such disruption and I would like to praise the amazing people who are working in our schools along with all our amazing key workers.

"The science is showing that we need to close our schools in order to get this under control, and I do have every confidence our schools will do everything possible to limit this disruption and give as much support as they can under these unprecedented times."