Brits urged to take part in doorstep vigil on first Covid lockdown anniversary

People across the UK will be asked to take part in a doorstep vigil on March 23 to reflect on the lives lost to coronavirus and the grief endured by those left behind. 

Boris Johnson and other political leaders have backed plans by charity Marie Curie for a national day of reflection on the anniversary of the first lockdown.

The nation will unite in a minute’s silence at 12pm, followed by the tolling of bells.

People will be asked to stand on their doorsteps with phones, candles and torches at 8pm to light up a “beacon of remembrance” for more than 125,000 people who have died during the pandemic. 

Prominent landmarks will also be lit up across the UK.

Boris Johnson previously took part in ‘clap for carers’ at No10

The Prime Minister, who vowed to mark the minute’s silence privately, said: “This has been an incredibly difficult year for our country.

“My thoughts are with all those who have lost loved ones, and who have not been able to pay tribute to them in the way they would have wanted. 

“As we continue to make progress against the virus, I want to thank people for the sacrifices they continue to make, and hope they can look forward to being reunited with loved ones as restrictions are cautiously eased.” 

Labour leader Keir Starmer said: “The National Day of Reflection is a moment to remember the 125,000 people lost to coronavirus over the last year. 

“We must never forget what that number represents: mothers, fathers, grandparents and partners. Behind every death are bereaved families and friends, many of whom have been unable to grieve normally.” 

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“Despite the terrible impact of this pandemic, the past year has also brought communities closer together.

NHS staff clap for carers at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow during the first wave
NHS staff clap for carers at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow

“Moments like this can send a powerful message that, as a society, we are there for each other.” 

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford and NHS England boss Sir Simon Stevens also backed the calls, which have been supported by dozens of care organisations, charities and businesses.

Marie Curie chief executive Matthew Reed said: “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.”


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