Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher calls for people to be 'tolerant' as 'Freedom Day' approaches

Terry Butcher.
Terry Butcher. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Ipswich Town legend Terry Butcher has called on people to be "tolerant and patient" when coronavirus restrictions are lifted on Monday.

Measures like social distancing and limits on attendances at events will be dropped from July 19 as England starts to return to some form of normality.

But, while that will be a cause of celebration for some, for others it will be an anxious time as they come to terms with stepping back into society after so many months indoors.

It will be a particularly scary period for the clinically vulnerable groups with Covid cases still on the rise, and Terry says it's important that people respect each other.

  • Watch an extended interview with Terry Butcher

"People will have to respect that if someone gives you a wide berth, it's not because they don't like you - they just want to be safe," he told ITV News Anglia.

"I still feel anxious talking about it and I'm not normally an anxious person. You have to respect other people too. Nearly everybody I've spoken to on this subject feels very anxious."

Terry has been a mental health advocate since his son Christopher died in 2017 after a battle with PTSD.

Before his death, Chris was anxious about being around others in crowded spaces, and Terry doesn't want people to feel the same on Monday.

"He was very anxious about being with people, being in crowds. I've seen that first-hand so I know what it's like for someone who wants to withdraw. Obviously, having seen that I'm very interested to see what will happen on Monday," he said.

"No one is going to flick a switch on Monday and it's going to go back to normal, it's going to be very different. It's very difficult now for people to try and get back to that normal that was here 20 months ago."

Terry Butcher's son, Christopher. Credit: Family photo

To help combat that anxiety, 'Well Pharmacy' is launching Comfort Zones in all of its 760 community pharmacies nationwide from Monday to give people a place to go if they're feeling overwhelmed.

The areas will offer people a chance to get away from crowds and to get support - something Terry believes is vital.

"It gives you an opportunity to relax and prepare yourself for going home," said Terry.

"It's just somewhere to pop into, and then off you go again. It's somewhere where people can get reassured, but also as well, it's a nice little stopping off point to make sure that you do all that you want to do in town."