'Lets reflect on the impact on our city' says Preston Mayor on anniversary of Covid lockdown
The city will today be falling silent to remember those who have lost their battle with Covid-19 and applaud those who have carried us through the pandemic over the past 12 months.
The Mayor of Preston is among those who have backed today as a national day of reflection to mark the anniversary of the first coronavirus lockdown.
Today, March 23, marks a year since the national lockdown was imposed in the UK, which saw Prime Minister Boris Johnson place tight restrictions on travel and mixing with other people in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
Over the past year, the country has been placed under three lockdowns with Preston facing some of the tightest restrictions possible during the tiered approach and higher than average rates of infection.
And now, Lancashire reflects on the past 12 months and looks to the future as the vaccine rollout continues and infection rates drop.
Speaking to the Post, Preston Mayor David Borrow applauded the ‘sense of community’ in Preston and said that ‘few remained untouched’ by the hold of the virus.
He said: “12 months ago many citizens of Preston and local organisations had already moved into lockdown with planned events cancelled and family visits put on hold.
“National lockdown left the city strangely quiet. I remember thinking how odd it was that I could walk out of my driveway and across the A6 in the middle of the day with no car in sight. Most of us probably felt that after a few months - by the end of the summer things would be back to normal.
“In the weeks that followed people we knew got Covid, some ended up in hospital and then Covid began to bring grief to families across the city. Now, a year later, few remain untouched by the pandemic. It's probably a good time to remember those we have lost and reflect on the impact on our city.
“Today we join others across the country in a national day of reflection, recognising the anniversary of the first national lockdown, announced by the Prime Minister 23 March 2020.
“The last 12 months have been incredibly challenging for all of us. We have not just stayed at home, we have had to adapt, change or forego many of our most loved activities, interactions and freedoms.
“Today is the opportunity for us to stop and acknowledge the sacrifices that so many have made in order to protect their families, friends and communities.
“Today is the opportunity for us to recognise the incredible dedication and hard work of our key workers, in the NHS and in every essential role that has kept us safe and provided essential goods and services.
“Today is the opportunity for us to collectively remember those we have lost to this terrible virus.
“And today we must recognise that it is not over yet. Lives are still being lost; sacrifices are still being made.
“To every resident, whether born and bred Prestonian or those who have chosen Preston as their home, I thank you for your support through this difficult time, share your grief for those we have lost and look forward to brighter days.”
And Lancashire Council leaders have also shown their support for the national day of remembrance, with flags being raised at half-mast to mark the occasion.
Leader of South Ribble Borough Council Paul Foster said the past 12 months were the ‘hardest we have had to face in history.’
The news comes as the end of life charity Marie Curie, which has its Lancashire branch in Preston, asked people to take a minute's silence at midday today and encouraging them to stand on their doorsteps this evening with phones, candles and torches to signify a 'beacon of remembrance'.
Councillor Paul Foster said: “It is vital that we all take a moment to reflect today– one year since the UK’s first covid lockdown.
"At South Ribble, we fully support the National commemoration and we will be marking the occasion by lowering our flags to half-mast and participating in the National minutes’ silence at noon.
“We wish to honour those who have sadly lost their lives to the awful disease and pay tribute to those on the front line who are working tirelessly to save lives on a daily basis.”
And Councillor Alistair Bradley, Leader of Chorley Council said, “We are in full support of the National commemoration for all those we have lost to Covid-19 and to pay tribute to our front line workers who have so worked so incredibly hard over the last 12 months to save lives and ensure the safety of our communities.
“We will be taking part in the national minutes’ silence to honour those who have sadly lost their lives and will be displaying our flags at half-mast to mark the occasion. We will also be getting involved with the commemoration regionally on our social media channels.”
Preston's Harris Museum, Town Hall and the Blackpool Winter Gardens are just some of the prominent buildings and landmarks that will also be lit up yellow to remember those we have lost over the past year.
The National Day of Reflection is being led by the charity and is supported by over 250 other organisations, to remember those who have died during the pandemic and show support for the millions of people who have been bereaved.
Marie Curie’s Head of Community Fundraising at Preston said: "The National Day of Reflection is not only about remembering those who have died during the pandemic when so many of us have not had the chance to grieve in the ‘usual’ ways. The Day is also about celebrating our sense of community, and showing those who are coping with grief that they are not alone.”
Find out more information about the campaign here.
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