Throughout the coronavirus pandemic we at the North Devon Gazette have done our best to bring you news of how local businesses and groups were doing their bit to help during the darkest days and out the other side.

Exmoor Zoo's animals such as these adorable caracal kittens were under threat if the attraction did not survive. Picture: Exmoor ZooExmoor Zoo's animals such as these adorable caracal kittens were under threat if the attraction did not survive. Picture: Exmoor Zoo

We spread the word that helped to keep local companies going through one of the hardest times they had ever faced, while also bringing their services to communities that desperately needed them.

Not only through deliveries of food, essentials and online entertainment, among many other services, but also by retaining local jobs during a time when everyone was and is struggling.

Tourist attractions were forced to instantly closed just as they had opened for a new season and at our local zoos there was a double crisis, with not only jobs lost but fears the animals would have to be rehomed or put to sleep.

Both Exmoor Zoo and Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park launched appeals to urgently raise funds to keep their animals alive and lobby the Government for action when there was no support available.

Jaye Andrew and Chris Hopkins at The Wayfarer Inn at Instow threw open their doors for frontline workers and NHS staff during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Chris HopkinsJaye Andrew and Chris Hopkins at The Wayfarer Inn at Instow threw open their doors for frontline workers and NHS staff during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Chris Hopkins

The Gazette covered their heartfelt campaigns as well as the innovative online efforts to raise money and finally, happily, the news they would receive financial support and reopen.

We told how The Wayfarer Inn at Instow, with no customers or staying guests, instead threw open its accommodation to NHS staff, emergency and frontline workers who needed to be away from their families while battling the virus.

It proved a god-send for those who were desperately needed on the wards at North Devon District Hospital, in care homes or as ambulance crews.

The pub also provided free breakfasts, packed lunches or evening meals, depending on their shift needs.

The Gazette joined forces with Bideford's town centre traders as they urged people to support local businesses. Picture: Matt SmartThe Gazette joined forces with Bideford's town centre traders as they urged people to support local businesses. Picture: Matt Smart

As the initial lockdown eased, we reported how independent traders in Bideford urged people to come out and support them to prove the town was still alive and bouncing back.

In August, we helped launch an appeal to preserve one of North Devon’s crown jewels, Lundy Island, to try and ensure the haven for wildlife, as well as a tourist destination and source of local jobs, would survive beyond 2020.

The island is a special place but has seen its income reduce dramatically as lockdown restrictions took hold.

These are just a few of the countless examples we could show you from the past few months as to why journalism matters.

The beauty of Lundy Island coudl have been lost to many if itv had been forced to fold due to Covid-19.The beauty of Lundy Island coudl have been lost to many if itv had been forced to fold due to Covid-19.

Lenny and Leo the lions at Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park could have been rehomed or put to sleep if the park had folded due to coronavirus. Picture: CMWDPLenny and Leo the lions at Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park could have been rehomed or put to sleep if the park had folded due to coronavirus. Picture: CMWDP

Golden-cheeked gibbons at Exmoor Zoo. Picture: John HammondGolden-cheeked gibbons at Exmoor Zoo. Picture: John Hammond