Dame Judi Dench has said a day of reflection for the millions of people bereaved since the coronavirus pandemic began is a “necessary step to begin to heal”.
The Marie Curie charity is calling for March 23 – the day the UK first entered lockdown – to be a national day of reflection to remember those who have died and to show support for everyone who is grieving.
Dozens of MPs and a host of celebrities have joined care organisations, charities, businesses and community groups in supporting the plan.
Dame Judi, 86, said: “Grief is difficult to manage at any stage of your life but this year has been particularly hard for so many.
“A dedicated day for everyone to come together, support one another and remember our loved ones who are no longer with us, is a small but necessary step to begin to heal.”
We invite everyone to join together on the 23rd March to reflect, remember and celebrate the lives of everyone that has died during these challenging times – from Covid and other causesMarie Curie chief executive Matthew Reed
Marie Curie estimates that more than three million people have been bereaved since the pandemic began.
The charity said the national day of reflection will include a minute’s silence at midday, daffodils placed in windows as a symbol of hope, online talks featuring people who are bereaved, and celebrities and expert panellists sharing experiences and answering questions.
In the evening, people will be encouraged to appear on their doorsteps with candles, torches or lights from their mobile phones for another minute of silence.
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’ve had a huge response from individuals, organisations, businesses, schools and groups from across the UK wanting to support the day – testament to how much people need and want to come together.
“We cannot simply stand by and not recognise the effects the pandemic has had on the bereaved.
“We know people are in shock, confused, upset, angry and unable to process what has happened.
“We invite everyone to join together on the 23rd March to reflect, remember and celebrate the lives of everyone that has died during these challenging times – from Covid and other causes.”