One year on - a statement from our Chairman

Date Published: 29 March 2021

From Councillor Susannah Barker-Milan 

Tuesday, March 23, the anniversary of the UK’s initial Covid lockdown, is being marked as a National Day of Reflection when those who have died in the pandemic will be remembered.

I encourage us all to take this moment to stop, to pause and to reflect; not only on those we have lost, but also on the astonishing response we have all made individually, within our families, among our friends and as communities.

Let’s look back on how far we have come and look forward as Covid-19 vaccinations continue to be rolled out at a pace; half of all UK adults having received some protection through a first dose and North Kesteven being one of the most engaged communities nationally for taking-up their vaccination.

At midday on Tuesday there will be a minute's silence and a national doorstep vigil at 8pm. Nationally landmark buildings will be lit, and we will light the Council Offices in Sleaford yellow which aligns with the Marie Curie daffodil symbol as the initiative was developed by Marie Curie Cancer Care.

On March 23, 2020, when we entered the first of the national periods of full lockdown, the total number of recorded deaths linked to coronavirus in the UK was 335. There have now been over 126,000 deaths nationally – more than 1,500 of them in Lincolnshire – as every day sadly more people continue to die because of Covid-19. 

Each one if these individuals is a much-loved person whose loss will continue to be felt for years to come, and our condolences, thoughts and prayers are with those who mourn. I have lost people close to me myself and I share your pain.

It is important that we all come together to reflect on our collective loss, to celebrate the lives of the special people no longer here, to support those who've been bereaved and to look towards a much brighter future.

Within the last year we have been inspired and touched by the example of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore who, probably more profoundly that the £30m he raised for NHS charities, motivated us through the curtailment of our freedoms and the rigours of the restrictions with his positive disposition and optimism of that brighter future.

For me, and I am sure for many, his insight and wisdom continues as a source of light and hope.

Last April he said: “We will get through it in the end but it might take time. At the end of the day we shall all be OK again… the sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away”

And in November: “I would like us all to stand shoulder to shoulder – metaphorically! Let’s try not to get downhearted. We will get through this, whatever is thrown at us and together we can ensure that tomorrow will be a good day.”

The response within our communities as neighbours look out for one another and strangers rally to ensure everyone is protected and provided for; the response within our own District Council and its partners as councillors and colleagues redouble their efforts; and of course the response of our health workers and other key workers in safeguarding our welfare and our way of life.

These responses exemplify the sunshine Captain Sir Tom Moore spoke of: they ‘ensure that ‘tomorrow will be a good day’.

There is no denying it, there are still tough times ahead as the death toll continues to rise. Whether we have had the vaccination or not, we need to maintain our vigilance and continue with our precautions. Moreover, we need to comply with ongoing restrictions as they are gradually lifted.

We have come so far that we cannot afford to undo it all by rushing ahead too soon, so please don’t be tempted to get ahead of the phased roadmap for recovery.

This Day of Reflection reflects on our collective loss, supports those who've been bereaved, and gives us hope for a brighter future.

Let us pause and think about the unprecedented loss we are facing, and think about ways we can continue to support each other through grief in the years to come.

Join us for a National Day of Reflection - 23 March