Eastbourne marks a National Day of Reflection one year on from the first coronavirus lockdown
Eastbourne will join the rest of the nation as it falls silent today (Tuesday) to remember friends and relatives who have died during the pandemic.
The National Day of Reflection (March 23) is organised by the Marie Curie charity to mark a year since the first lockdown and it is backed by government.
The public is asked to observe a minute’s silence at midday and shine a light on their doorsteps at 8pm.
Local organisations are backing the movement and asking residents to remember those who have died in the last year.
East Sussex County Council leader councillor Keith Glazier said, “Today it is a year since the whole country first went into lockdown to try and protect everyone from the spread of coronavirus.
“We know that, sadly, it hasn’t been possible to protect everyone and that’s one reason why a national day of reflection is being held tomorrow.
“I’m sure many people in East Sussex will use the day to pause and look back; perhaps with sadness, perhaps with pride at what’s been achieved in the most difficult of years. Or probably, like me, a mixture of both.
“Most of all I’d like to thank all the people in our county who’ve helped over the past year. By which I mean, just about all of us.
“Workers in social care, the NHS, emergency services and public health, people who’ve kept schools, shops, transport and other essential services running, unpaid carers and volunteers – or simply good neighbours and friends.
“It hasn’t been easy – it still isn’t – but I feel so encouraged when I see the efforts people make to work together in our communities and protect each other. Thank you.
“If we keep this up, and as more of us get our jabs, I’m certain that cases of the virus here will continue to fall.
“And if that happens, we have every reason to think tomorrow’s chance to reflect will be quickly followed by the start of a return to better times in East Sussex.”
Councillor and Mayor Steve Wallis said, “Since the first lockdown was announced by the Prime Minister on the March 23 2020, the UK has recorded 4.3 million cases of Covid-19 and sadly 126,000 people have succumbed to the disease. The entire population of the country has been impacted by this pandemic, one way or another.
“My thoughts and prayers are with all those residents who have lost a loved one to Covid.
“With the vaccination being rolled out and taken up by so many people, I hope that the dark days will soon be over. I cannot thank enough all those front liners who have been at the forefront of the response during this extremely challenging time. I am working on planting a memorial garden in Eastbourne to remember all those lives lost.”
Matthew Reed, chief executive of Marie Curie, said, “We need to take a moment to mark the huge amount of loss we’ve seen in the past 12 months and show support for everyone who has been bereaved – be that from Covid or any other cause.
“Many people are in shock, confused, upset, angry and unable to process what has happened. But there is an overwhelming need to come together, to remember, to grieve, to celebrate.
“On March 23, we invite everyone join together to hold a minute’s silence at 12noon, take a moment to reach out to someone they know is grieving, and shine a light at 8pm.”
Clinicians from East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust will feature on local BBC news tonight (March 23) at 6.30pm and 10.30pm, talking about the trust’s restart plans and their personal experience of Covid over the last 12 months.
To find out more about the National Day of reflection, visit: www.mariecurie.org.uk/get-involved/day-of-reflection