IT is excellent to hear that the Friarage Hospital is getting a new eye department this month after the transformation of the Allerton Ward.

At a time when the NHS has been at the forefront of the public's gratitude in a way like never before, it is heartening to see that our local hospital is not being forgotten.

The eye department comes within weeks of the announcement that the Friarage will have a 24-hour urgent treatment centre following months of consultation.

It probably wasn't a surprise to anybody that this was the option most favoured by the public - above a 16-hour service.

And although it may not be the full A&E service that some hoped to see return, it is still a positive thing to have at a community hospital and is hopefully further evidence that the Friarage is being equipped for the future.

One only has to look a few miles down the road to the Lambert in Thirsk to see what sad fate can befall small, local hospitals.

On a different note, it was nice to see our 'non-essential' traders back in action at the weekend. There has been plenty of comment throughout lockdown about how well people have adapted to the 'new normal' of staying at home.

Judging by the scores of people who flocked back to the pubs on 'Super Saturday' it would appear that people are still as sociable as ever and would rather have a pint down their local than in their lounge.

If lockdown helped us appreciate our community more, hopefully it has also made us appreciate and support our local pubs and traders more too.