Support for National Day of Reflection gains momentum

Liam Meyer with his late father Dave

Liam Meyer with his late father Dave. - Credit: Submitted

A day to remember those who have died during the coronavirus pandemic -  and to show support for everyone who has been bereaved - is being backed by Torbay residents, bereaved families and local businesses and organisations.

The National Day of Reflection, led by end-of-life charity Marie Curie, is set to take place next Tuesday, March 23, the anniversary of the UK going into the first national lockdown.

The charity hopes the day will bring the whole of the UK together to reflect on our collective loss, support those who've been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future.

A host of charities, organisations and celebrities supporting the day including South Western Ambulance Service.

On Tuesday, Marie Curie is inviting everyone to take part in a minute's silence at midday to reflect on those who have died.

Later, at 8pm, everyone is invited to appear on their doorsteps with candles, torches or simply lights from their mobile phones, for a second minute of silence at 8pm, to show support and solidarity for the millions of people who have been bereaved in these incredibly tough times.

Iconic buildings and landmarks across the UK will light up yellow as a beacon of hope and solidarity.

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Liam Meyer is a videographer for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust. Throughout the pandemic, Liam has been providing grief support to over 500 people through Facebook group Alone Together.

Passionate about breaking down taboos about grief, he hopes to create a network of mutual support and aid across his online activism. Liam appeared with other key workers on The Choir: Singing for Britain in July 2020.

On March 29, Liam lost his 62-year-old father David to Covid-19 and blood poisoning after a week in intensive care.

Due to lockdown measures, Liam and his family were unable to be with David in his final hours. This, Liam explains, made his grief all the more difficult to process.

Liam, who lives in Newton Abbot, is supporting the National Day of Reflection. He said: “Losing dad last year came as a huge shock but I don’t think you’re ever prepared to lose a loved at the best of times.

"Not been able to give dad the send-off that I felt he deserved due to restrictions and not been able to physically be with my family gave me the strength to create the support network Alone Together for others that were struggle after losing a loved one to Covid.”

The South West Marie Curie community fundraising team have been taking part in Step into Spring - a 10,000 steps a day challenge, through the month of March.

On the National Day of Reflection, the team will be upping their steps to 126,000, taking one step in memory of every person who has sadly died due to Covid-19.

Seven members of the team, including Devon’s community fundraiser Connie Thomas, will walk 18,000 steps each that day, to reflect on our nation’s collective loss and show solidarity to every person who has been bereaved during the pandemic, who regardless of the cause, will have been grieving in difficult and challenging circumstances.

Marie Curie 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 – be that from Covid or any other cause.

"We invite everyone to join together on March 23 to reflect, remember and celebrate the lives of everyone that has died during these challenging times – from Covid and other causes.”

The National Day of Reflection takes place during Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal. Every year, the appeal raises money to help people at the end of life can get the care and support they need - which is more important this year than ever.

Other activities planned include a series of free online talks and conversations hosted by the Good Grief Festival, featuring expert panels, bereaved families and celebrities throughout the afternoon. 

To find out more about the National Day of Reflection, log on to www.mariecurie.org.uk/dayofreflection