It is a year since England went into lockdown. For many, it has been a year of hardship. A year of heartache. A year of missing loved-ones. A year of the unknown.
To mark the anniversary of the first Covid lockdown Salisbury is backing a national day of reflection organised by the Marie Curie charity.
Plans for today include a minute’s silence at 12noon to remember everyone who has died during the pandemic. Salisbury Cathedral will mark the day of reflection by streaming live prayers at midday with a one-minute silence.
Leading up to the 1 year anniversary of the first lockdown, Salisbury Cathedral lit 1,000 candles to spell a message of Hope. The candles were laid in the South Transept, the same space where thousands have been vaccinated.
Today, people are then being encouraged to get involved in a doorstep vigil by lighting candles from 8 pm and leaving them on their doorsteps.
As of 22nd March 2021, there had been a total of 126,000 deaths recorded within 28 days of a Covid-19 positive test across the UK. In Wiltshire, there have been 646 deaths over the last year.
Staff at Salisbury District Hospital have worked hard to treat those who have needed hospital care due to the virus and patients with other critical conditions.
Stacey Hunter, Salisbury District Hospital said: “Today is a time to remember all those we have lost over the last year and to express our deepest sympathy to their families and friends. Behind every death is a family who may not have been able to say a proper goodbye or grieve because of COVID restrictions.”
There have been dark days for many over the last 12 months with three lockdowns and a range of restrictions leading to one of the toughest years in memory for businesses.
Robin McGowan, Chief Executive of Salisbury BID says:
“For many of our businesses the last year has been a struggle but owners have shown great resilience and tenacity by adapting and diversifying their offerings. Today is a day of reflection but it is also a time to look ahead and be optimistic about the future. Many non-essential businesses will begin to reopen in April and Salisbury BID is working to make sure the city is ready for the welcome return of residents and visitors. It will be time to experience Salisbury again soon.”
Every area of life has felt the impact of the pandemic. Salisbury Cathedral was forced to close its doors to worshippers and visitors again when the third national lockdown was announced in January but it hasn’t stood idle, instead, it has been turned into a vaccination hub.
The Very Revd Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury said:
“This anniversary comes as we approach Holy Week and Easter, when we recall the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and give thanks for the life that we share. Today we will pause at midday to remember those who have died, those who have lost loved ones, those whose lives have been irrevocably changed, and those who have worked hard to fight the pandemic. The vaccination programme administered by the local NHS team in the Cathedral, in the city and across the Diocese has given us cause to hope – and we must hold fast to that hope.”
It is with hope that we eagerly anticipate the return of non-essential businesses to our wonderful city, and look forward to welcoming everyone back to Salisbury safely soon. Keep an eye on Salisbury’s new channels, Experience Salisbury – a new website launching later this spring that showcases and celebrates everything our beautiful city has to offer to residents and visitors.