TODAY across Droitwich, Worcestershire and the rest of the UK a national day of reflection will be held, marking the first anniversary of the country going into lockdown due to the Covid pandemic.
People are being urged to hold a minute’s silence at midday and at 8pm, stand on their doorsteps holding candles, lights or using their mobile phone torches to create a nationwide ‘beacon of hope’.
Ahead of today’s anniversary, the leader of Wychavon District Council has paid tribute to the inspirational spirit of the district’s residents.
Coun Bradley Thomas said many lives had been saved because of the actions people had taken over the last year.
He added the strength and determination of Wychavon’s communities to support each other had been inspirational.
Official figures show 266 people in Wychavon have so far died where Covid-19 has been mentioned as a cause on the death certificate.
Coun Thomas said: “Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to every single person who has lost someone due to Covid-19, and also to those who lost loved ones due to coronavirus or for other reasons, but were unable to say goodbye or to grieve properly because of the restrictions.
“I am humbled by the amazing dedication of our local NHS, who have saved hundreds of lives through their actions. I am also grateful to all our residents who themselves helped to save many, many lives by staying at home and staying apart from each other, no matter how hard that was and continues to be.
“To those businesses that have played their part by closing their doors despite the hardship it has caused, I say thank you and promise we will help you rebuild.
“We are not out of the woods yet. We must be cautious as we come out of lockdown, but there are better times ahead.
“On Tuesday I urge everyone to pause at midday to reflect on how much we have been through this last year, remember lives lost and loved ones still grieving, and pledge to continue to work together as we rebuild from this pandemic.”
Wychavon has produced a short video to mark the anniversary of the first national lockdown, using items submitted to the Wychavon Covid-19 Memory Bank.
It is available from today on the Wychavon District Council Facebook page here.
Other organisations taking part in the national day of reflection include Worcestershire County Council and Worcestershire Children First (WCF).
Both organisations will support the day as the nation comes together to reflect on our collective loss, support those who’ve been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future.
Staff will be encouraged to take part in the one-minute silence at midday on Tuesday and the flag at County Hall will be flown at half-mast.
Paul Robinson, Chief Executive of Worcestershire County Council, said: “The past 12 months have been tough in one way or another for everyone in Worcestershire and across the nation.
“Tuesday is an important time for all of us in the county to pause for a moment and reflect on those who have lost their lives or who have been bereaved, it has been an incredibly tough time for everyone.
“It’s also important that we reach out to our family, friends, and colleagues who have struggled during the pandemic or lost a loved one and offer our support.”
In March last year, the County Council set up the Here2Help Service for residents who needed extra support throughout the pandemic.
In the past 12 months, more than 5,000 people have requested help from the service and over 2,000 people have volunteered to offer support, giving a total of 6,000 hours of their time.
Teams at the County Council have also received and delivered more than 2,000 PPE requests. Over 500,000 masks, 450,000 aprons, and 1.1 million gloves have been distributed to those who need them, helping them to continue to carry out vital support in schools and care homes, keeping children and vulnerable people safe.
Businesses across the county have received over £140 million worth of grant funding from local authority partners in Worcestershire as they face huge struggles during the pandemic.
The Day of Reflection is being led by Marie Curie.
The charity’s Chief Executive Matthew Reed said: “We need to mark the huge amount of loss we’ve seen this year and show support for everyone who has been bereaved in the most challenging of circumstances. We cannot simply stand by and not recognise the effects the pandemic has had on the bereaved. We know people are in shock, confused, upset, angry and unable to process what has happened.
“The National Day of Reflection on March 23 gives us a moment to reflect, remember and celebrate the lives of everyone that has died, as well as show our support to family, friends and colleagues who are bereaved during these challenging times – from Covid-19 and other causes.”
To find out more about the National Day of Reflection and how to get involved visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/dayofreflection. #DayofReflection