I thought we had turned the corner on Covid. I read the papers and saw the numbers. Sympathy for those who had lost their relatives, and compassion for those who have been left unwell with long term issues from it. There is also pride in our NHS and comfort in the knowledge that we had turned the corner on vaccines.

I thought my circle of family and friends had escaped the worse, but sadly today I found out that a dear friend passed away. My dearest friend who I had known for over 40 years.

He was the sort of man who made the sun shine brighter, the flowers smell sweeter and that you were for the time you spoke to him his only concern. He never stopped smiling nor his eyes twinkling.

We had many discussions over the years about faith as I am a Christian and he is a Muslim, and he was so learned and told me the origins of Islam and never tired of my questions.

He told me all about the village he left as a child in Pakistan and where his relatives still lived. The stories were magical to listen too, and he was always respectful to my parents…I think he was born a middle aged man because of his values…wonderful though they were.

He spoke about the closeness of family and the joy of friends, and the smile he had when we met was bigger than a Cheshire cat each and every time..and sadly that is now gone.

Covid 19 has robbed this world of the purest of souls, and I for one shall miss my friend terribly. He was a good man, a great father and husband and a thoroughly decent individual and quite simply my friend.

This virus is cruel and when we can finally get to step back into the world I will place flowers down and say thank you for having been my friend all these years.

The Government must when this awful pandemic is over hold an enquiry in to why so many of the BAME members of our society have passed away due to this virus. Just brushing it under the carpet will not do as their families need an answer. We all do.

Till then I say goodbye to my friend Aftab….may God open up his arms to welcome you and gently soothe the tears of your family, and thank you for the lovely memories. Goodnight my friend I shall miss you.