Council leaders for Banbury area share thoughts on National Day of Reflection marking one since first national Covid-19 lockdown

Council leaders across the Banbury area share their thoughts today (Tuesday March 23) in support of the National Day of Reflection

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 10:27 am

The National Day of Reflection, proposed by end of life charity Marie Curie, recognises the anniversary of the first UK coronavirus lockdown.

The charity describes the day as an opportunity to reflect on the nation’s collective loss, support those who've been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future.

A minute of silence at 12 noon will be observed. Then at 8pm there will be another one-minute silence and residents are being asked to stand outside with a light – a candle, a torch, phone – to remember those who have died and to show support for those who have suffered a bereavement.

Leaders of the Banbury area councils - Banbury Town Council Leader Kieron Mallon, Cherwell District Council Leader Barry Wood and Oxfordshire County Council Leader Ian Hudspeth

Leader of Banbury Town Council Kieron Mallon said: “This day of reflection gives us a chance to remember the loss of life and show support for others.”

Cllr Barry Wood, leader of Cherwell District Council, said: “It is sobering to reflect on the year that has passed since we first went into lockdown. Few of us could have released how the pandemic would affect our daily lives. Nor did we anticipate the countless human tragedies it has wrought, with over 125,000 lives lost across the UK.

“Tuesday’s National Day of Reflection is a chance for all of us in the Cherwell area to join with our neighbours, colleagues and communities in remembering those who have lost their lives to Covid, and to offer our support to the bereaved.

“At Cherwell District Council we will be marking the minute’s silence at midday on 23 March, and the flag will be flown at half-mast at Bodicote House.

Banbury Town Council leader Kieron Mallon (Image from town council website)

“I am full of admiration and gratitude for how local people have adapted their lives to follow the lockdown restrictions and public health guidance: every mask worn and every bit of careful social distancing has made a difference, as has the difficult discipline of staying at home and not meeting family and friends.

“The rollout of the vaccine is a tremendous achievement, with over 275,000 vaccines delivered to people across Oxfordshire to date. This is cause for continued hope for the future, as is the terrific neighbourly support shown towards the most vulnerable by volunteers and members of the community up and down the district.”

Cllr Ian Hudspeth, the leader of Oxfordshire County Council, reflects on a unique and challenging 12 months locally, nationally and internationally.

“Twelve months ago today our first national lockdown started. At that stage in our lives Covid-19 was more of an unknown quantity than it is now and, with people suddenly working and being educated from home, our worlds and horizons changed hugely.

Cherwell District Council Leader Barry Wood (Image from Cherwell District Council)

"As families, colleagues and friends we quickly had to find ways of adapting to new routines and realities to deliver important services in our day jobs and provide support to loved ones in our home lives.

"With over 125,000 lives lost and so many people having experienced the virus, there has been real loss and sadness. Contact with family has been much less extensive and our freedom to come and go as we please has not been as we would wish it to be.

"Tuesday’s National Day of Reflection is a chance for everyone in Oxfordshire to remember those who have lost their lives to Covid, to offer our support to those who have been bereaved, and to simply look back at what we’ve been through.

"At the county council will be marking the minute’s silence at midday on 23 March, and the flag will be flown at half-mast at county hall

Oxfordshire County Council Leader Ian Hudspeth (Image from Oxfordshire County Council website)

"The dignity, resilience and fortitude shown by Oxfordshire people throughout this period has been admirable. That brand new advice given out 12 months ago about keeping a distance, washing hands and staying at home is being observed now as it was then and the different restrictions we’ve had in the meantime were also respected. These simple examples of people taking individual responsibility have all helped in dealing with the Covid-19 challenge.

“Each day the national vaccine rollout brings more and more hope and we are already on a very gradual return to normality. However we must never forget those who have lost their lives and the loved ones who mourn them. Tomorrow is an appropriate moment to look back soberly as well as to look forward with a degree of optimism.”