Captain Sir Tom Moore and Sir Geoffrey Boycott are my Yorkshire heroes for openers – GP Taylor

IT has been a very long and strange year that I have spent hiding away from the world for fear of catching an unseen killer. In that time, I have looked out upon a world that has changed for good and a county that has been shaken.

Amongst all that, there have been times when I have wept over the achievements of brave people who have done so much to keep the world turning and in the dark days of Covid have brought in the light.

Yorkshire has been blessed with many heroes this year. Some have even laid down their lives so that others may live. Many of them are unknown to us, going about their lives quietly, doing whatever they can without reward or recognition.

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People like Hannah Beck, from Harrogate, fed the homeless. Bobby Singh, from Pontefract, gave away bags of free food and set up a delivery service at his own expense. My local supermarket delivery worker went above and beyond to keep us all fed.

Captain Sir Tom Moore is GP Taylor's hero of 2020.

In times such as this, a natural figurehead often comes to the fore, and this year it was a man born and brought up in Yorkshire.

In 2020, this man has impressed me greatly. His actions have been an inspiration to many. Captain Sir Tom Moore needs no introduction. His is a name that everyone knows.

At the age of 100, he raised nearly £40m for NHS charities. What he did went around the world and inspired others to do the same. He also gave us all some hope and for me, he made me feel very proud to be a Yorkshireman (a gender-neutral term).

No amount of praise or awards can really honour his achievements. Even the word legend is not good enough for what he did for the nation at such a crucial time.

Captain Sir Tom Moore has become an international icon in 2020.

It was far more than an old man doing a sponsored walk, it was an act of defiance against a disease that has killed so many people.

It was a statement of strength and a signal to us all that we would get through this. Here was an old soldier getting out of his chair and symbolically telling us all to carry on. It brought light into the darkness and banished our fears.

The memory of the man will go on and on and be an inspiration to future generations. When the snowflakes moaned and grumbled, Captain Tom made a symbolic act that brought the nation together. He is a Yorkshire hero beyond reproach.

Everything this year has been dominated by the pandemic. It has robbed us of normal life and has changed society forever. Lockdown has brought out the worst in people, suddenly, a new woke agenda has replaced common sense.

GP Taylor remains a fan of cricket commentator Sir Geoff Boycott's plain-speaking.

Statues have been torn down and people are afraid to say what they think in case their words are branded racist, anti-trans or homophobic.

This has led to a culture of fear pervading public life. Those people who stand against it are cancelled and trolled into silence – unless they are Sir Geoffrey Boycott.

In many ways, Sir Geoffrey is an enduring, great Yorkshire hero. Not only is he one of the greatest cricketers this country has produced, but he also is not afraid to say what he thinks.

Even though I often don’t agree with what he says, he certainly has the right to say it. His life may be flawed and some might say his world view comes from a different era, but he has to be admired for his honesty.

His anti-woke comments are quite refreshing and open up debate rather than closing down conversation as do the aggressive politics of the BLM movement.

Boycott says what he thinks. It may sound brash and out of place, but in this current culture of political correctness, it is a welcome thing. He is unlike others who think one thing and say another.

His honesty is important in a time when people would rather lie to keep their woke credentials. Honesty is a very rare trait to have in this modern world and it should be admired in those who possess it.

We have to remember that heroes are not saints and are never perfect. Thankfully, people like Boycott wear the skeletons on the outside of their cupboards and have nothing to fear from this warped, silencing culture that we now live in.

As a cricketer, he represented his county and his country. As a commentator, he brought a deep insight into the game that was enjoyable to listen to. He is a great loss to cricket having not had his contract renewed.

Boycott would never have fitted in to a new look BBC where tokenism is more important than ability. Despite his failings, he will always be regarded by many as being a great Yorkshire hero.

GP Taylor is a writer and broadcaster. He lives in Whitby.

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