Key worker who lost dad to Covid nears milestone on national remembrance day petition - one year on from the first lockdown
After decorating her mum's house yellow to mark the one year anniversary of the Covid-19 lockdown today, a Leyland key worker nears 10,000 signatures on her national memorial day petition.
Rachael Lidgett first called on the Government to create a national public holiday of remembrance for the lives lost during the pandemic after losing her dad to the virus.
The mum-of-one first kickstarted a parliamentary petition calling on the Government to introduce an annual national holiday every year on March 23, to remember those who lost their battle with Covid-19.
End of life charity Marie Curie today encouraged people to reflect at midday by observing a minutes silence to remember those who lost their lives to the virus and hold candles and torches at their doorsteps this evening.
And today, as she decorates her mum's house yellow as a beacon of remembrance a year on from the first lockdown, her petition nears the 10,000 signature milestone.
Rachael, 35, said: "The colour yellow is to symbolise all those who have been lost to Covid over the past year. It is great that the Marie Curie charity are wanting to get involved and encouraging people to reflect but more needs to be done.
"The Government need to make this more concrete and a permanent fixture in society where we remember them every year. It has been particularly difficult over the past few months because it has felt like a long road to get to this point in my petition.
"It has taken so much time putting it together and sharing it to different groups and across social media, but it has seen a rise in the last couple of days because of the anniversary of lockdown.
"I don't think enough is being done to remember those who we have lost. It should be a public holiday where the whole country can be given the opportunity to reflect.
"I really want to hit my final push and reach the 10,000 signatures so that the Government have to respond. I felt so emotional today after the minute's silence and want people to know the grief and pain that comes to families who have lost someone to this virus."
After her dad Christopher Cooper walked into Royal Preston Hospital expecting a check-up last year and some medication for a crackling sound when he was breathing, the family didn't know that it would be the last time they would see him before being told to say their goodbyes.
It was his loss that Rachael said "devastated" their family as she continues to spread awareness that coronavirus can have fatal effects, even for those without preexisting medical implications.
Her mum Sue Cooper said: "We have decorated my house in remembrance of those who have died from Covid. It marks the anniversary of the first day of lockdown and we felt it was important to remember all of those who have died and all those who have worked and helped through this pandemic.
"It's great that a charity like Marie Curie is on board but I think we need to go further and recognise the anniversary nationally for everybody."
Her husband Christopher was admitted to the hospital on November 22 last year and within 11 days he was hooked up to a ventilator relying on 100 per cent oxygen to breathe.
The loss of her dad inspired Rachael to set up the new petition, in a bid to urge the Government to consider a national holiday to remember those who died of the virus in years to come.
At 10,000 signatures, the Government will respond, and at 100,000 it will be debated in parliament.
"I knew that I wanted to try and do something to make a difference. This pandemic is going to be in history books in years to come and children will be learning about this in schools," Rachael said.
"We are still losing so many people and I think it is important that we continue to remember them. It has nearly been a year since the first lockdown and is coming up to the anniversary of many people's deaths.
"I want people to sign the petition and help to share it. If every person who has lost somebody to Covid in this country signed it and got on board, we would be close to the 100,000 mark. If nothing else, I will be happy that people are talking about the impact this has head and the devastation it can leave behind.
Sign the petition HERE.
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