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One year on – a day to reflect and remember

A MINUTE’S silence will be held by Somerset County Council to mark a National Day of Reflection, remembering those who have lost their lives during the pandemic and to show support for everyone who has been bereaved.

Initiated by end-of-life charity Marie Curie, the National Day of Reflection is due to take place on Tuesday, March 23 – the anniversary of the UK going into the first national lockdown.

A council spokesperson said: “The chair of the council, Cllr Nigel Taylor, is inviting staff to hold a minute’s silence at noon to remember and reflect on the last year which has touched us all, encouraging everyone to find a moment to reflect on the last year in their own way.

Cllr Taylor said: “Covid-19 has affected everyone’s lives over the last year, and sadly many of us have lost friends, neighbours and family before their time. On the anniversary of the first lockdown, it is a time for us to pause, reflect and remember.

“A time for us to support our friends, families and local communities and a time to help local grieving families. Let us all reflect on the events of the last year and send hope of better times.”

The flag at County Hall will also fly at half-mast as a sign of respect for all those who have died through Covid-19 and for the bereaved they have left behind. County Hall will be lit up in blue and green in the evening to honour the emergency services.

An online ‘Covid reflection’ page will be available from Tuesday, March 23 at https://somersetnewsroom.com/2021/03/17/somerset-coronavirus-reflection-page/ for staff and members of the public to share their own personal reflection messages – which will remain as a permanent reminder of the last year.

The council spokesperson added: “The council is also inviting staff and the public to share pandemic inspired poems as part of World Poetry Day on March 21 – a therapeutic way to comfortably share feelings and thoughts if they want to.

“Anyone who wishes to take part and would like to add their own reflection message, photo (please have all necessary permissions in place) or poem to the ‘Covid reflection’ memorial page can do so by emailing communications@somerset.gov.uk. Messages may also be shared via the county council’s social media channels on the day.”

Marie Curie estimates that over three million people have been bereaved since the pandemic began, yet many have been unable to properly say goodbye to loved ones or grieve.

They warn that without the right support for people who have been bereaved, the devastation that the pandemic has caused will impact the lives of people for generations.

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 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

If you have been bereaved and need emotional support or someone to talk to you can call the Somerset Bereavement Support Service on 0800 304 7412.

For emotional support Mindline is a confidential listening service which provides a safe place to talk if you, or someone you know, is in distress on 01823 276 892.

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