COMMUNITY leaders have paid tribute to the inspirational spirit of the district’s residents ahead to mark today’s National Day of Reflection.
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.
The National Day of Reflection marks the one-year anniversary of the first national lockdown.
It is being spearheaded by end of life charity Marie Curie as a way of encouraging people to reflect, remember and celebrate the lives of everyone who has died from Covid-19 and other causes.
People are also being encouraged to reach out to those bereaved who may have lost someone to the virus, or to another cause, and have been unable to mourn properly because of coronavirus restrictions.
Official figures show 266 people in Wychavon have so far died where Covid-19 has been mentioned as a cause on the death certificate.
At 8pm people are being asked to shine a light from their doorstep or from their window, in memory of those who have died and those bereaved.
“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.
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. Visit www.facebook.com/wychavon for more.
Churches of the Pershore Benefice participated with the church bells of Pershore Abbey, St James’ Birlingham and St Mary’s Wick tolling at 12.01pm following the national minute silence at midday
Each will toll 125 times to remember all those who have died during the pandemic and the three million people who have been bereaved, many of whom have been unable to properly say goodbye to loved ones or grieve.
Dr. Kathryn Cobain, Director for Public Health in Worcestershire, said: “One year ago, as Covid-19 arrived on our shores, none of us could have imagined how our lives would change in the coming months.
“The past year has seen the pandemic effect all aspects of our lives, across every age group and every part of the county. I know some of you will have lost precious loved ones during this past year. I want to offer you my deepest condolences if you have suffered a tragic loss and you will be in our thoughts this week, as we pay our respects to all those who have died during the pandemic.
“If you are unwell with Covid-19 or long Covid, I want to wish you a speedy recovery, and hope you will soon be back in better health. It is a reminder to us all, that this virus is still with us and can still impact our lives.
“One year on, we can look to the future with optimism and positivity.
“Worcestershire is a vibrant, beautiful county with so much to offer its residents and businesses. We want to see our county recover and revitalise, and we can all help with that, by continuing to follow the social distancing rules and taking up the offer of testing and vaccination being offered.”
St Richard’s Hospice is supporting the national day to remember those who have died during the pandemic, and to show support for everyone who has been bereaved.
Care director Debbie Westwood said: “We know from our own experience of families and loved ones who have been bereaved and the impact that the pandemic has had on them. Many have been unable to properly say goodbye to loved ones or grieve. It’s important to us all at St Richard’s to acknowledge the enormous effect the pandemic has had on everyone in our community and across the country.”
“We are encouraging people to reflect in any way they feel comfortable, knowing that the nation is with them in spirit and supporting them in their grief. We will also be sharing resources available to help people through bereavement.”