National Day of Reflection: Flint Castle to light up yellow on anniversary of first UK Covid lockdown
Flint Castle will be amongst a host of prominent buildings and iconic landmarks across the UK that will light up yellow to mark a ‘National Day Of Reflection’ later this month.
A minute’s silence and a national doorstep vigil will form part of the day on Tuesday 23 March, the anniversary of the UK’s first Covid lockdown.
Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Opposition Leader Keir Starmer, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon are all backing charity Marie Curie’s plan for the 23 March, when those who have died in the pandemic will be remembered.
Spearheaded by Marie Curie, over 110 organisations are behind the day, including British Red Cross, Girlguiding, Jo Cox Foundation, Royal Voluntary Service, The Scouts and Together.
The movement is made up of charities, businesses, membership organisations, emergency services, public sector bodies, community groups, individuals and many more.
Since the pandemic began, many who have lost loved ones have been unable to say goodbye or grieve properly.
The Day will allow everyone to remember those who have died, and bring people together to pause, reflect and support each other this month and in years to come as we look with hope to the future.
The charity is inviting everyone to join together to hold a minute’s silence at 12 noon and take a moment to reach out to someone they know is grieving.
Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, said: “Over the last 12 months the pandemic has turned all our lives upside down.”
“Too many families have lost loved ones and close friends and so many people haven’t had a chance to say goodbye because of all the changes that coronavirus has meant to our lives.”
“It’s really important that we have the opportunity to come together to reflect on the last year. 23 March is an opportunity to unite and support each other during this tough time.”
Marie Curie’s Chief Executive, Matthew Reed, said: “We welcome the news that political leaders are signalling their support for a National Day of Reflection on 23 March, on the anniversary of the first UK lockdown.”
“The last year has been one of the most traumatic and uniting in modern history. With so many of us losing someone close, our shared sense of loss is incomparable to anything felt by this generation.”
“Many of us have been unable to say a real goodbye or comfort our family, friends, and colleagues in their grief. We need to acknowledge that and recognise we are not alone.”
“That’s why on 23 March, it is important that we all come together to reflect on our collective loss, celebrate the lives of the special people no longer here, support those who’ve been bereaved and look towards a much brighter future.”
The British Red Cross is one of a number of new organisations supporting the national day, Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said:
“We support this day to mark our collective loss. This year has left so many people dealing with the painful experience of grief.”
“Too many have lost loved ones – friends, colleagues, precious family members – at a time when we are unable to connect and mourn in person.”
“Bereavement can be isolating so we also encourage people to reach out to friends, families and others in their support network.”
“The more connected we are, the more resilient we are, and kindness can help get us through this crisis.”
The National Day of Reflection, which the movement hopes will become an annual event, will see; a nationwide minute of silence at 12 noon, followed by bells tolling at 12:01, and prominent buildings and iconic landmarks will light up at 8pm across the UK.
Alongside this will be community-led initiatives such as virtual reflective assemblies, choirs, special services, candle and lantern lighting on doorsteps, yellow ribbons wrapped around trees, and many other commemorative activities that will bring people together – in adherence with social distancing rules.
On the day, there will be a series of free online talks and conversations featuring expert panels, bereaved families and celebrities throughout the afternoon of 23 March, produced by the Good Grief Festival.
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive said: “Coming out of the toughest year in the Health Service’s entire history, we need to reflect on the pandemic’s deep toll, mourn those we’ve lost, and mark the service and sacrifice of staff throughout the NHS.”
“It’s also a moment to acknowledge how in adversity we saw strength, as friends, neighbours and communities have come together to help each other through the nation’s worst ordeal since the second world war.”
“While we need continuing vigilance against this virus, the remarkable NHS vaccination programme now brings hope of better times to come.”
To find out more about the National Day of Reflection visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/dayofreflection.