A song by Ed Sheeran about his late grandmother will be used in a TV advertising campaign spreading awareness of a national day of reflection to remember those who have died during the coronavirus pandemic.
The track Supermarket Flowers was donated for free to accompany a 60-second film which uses the possessions of people and families to highlight their loss.
The campaign, by the charity Marie Curie, is urging the nation to ‘take a moment to reflect and a moment to connect’.
The charity is organising a national day of reflection on March 23 – the one-year anniversary of the first national lockdown.
We need to take a moment to mark the huge amount of loss we’ve seen in the past 12 months and show support for everyone who has been bereaved – be that from Covid or any other causeMarie Curie chief executive Matthew Reed
It will include a minute’s silence at 12pm followed by a bell toll, and people are being encouraged to stand on their doorsteps at 8pm with phones, candles and torches to signify a “beacon of remembrance”.
Prominent buildings and landmarks will also be lit up across the UK.
More than 100 care organisations, charities, businesses, membership organisations, emergency services, public sector bodies and community groups support the idea.
Carol Telfer, 61, is a chaplain at Marie Curie’s Glasgow Hospice.
Her father Jim, a reprographics manager from Clydebank, had vascular dementia and died in January aged 89 after contracting Covid-19.
Ms Telfer said she wanted him to be part of the campaign to “show all the people across the UK who are grieving that they’re not alone”.
She said: “My stepmum took the photograph of dad’s chair. She said it was the most difficult photograph she’d ever taken in her life. It was then, when I got the photo, that the significance of that empty space really hit me.
“Dad’s empty chair represents so much for us as a family. That he’s really gone, it’s final, he’s never coming back.
“And there are so many people going through that across the country and the world, in the hardest of circumstances during a pandemic.”
Marie Curie chief executive Matthew Reed said: “Possessions can be powerful reminders of the people we have loved and lost, as well as helping us in our grieving process.
“A person’s clothing, personal items, books, plants, letters, empty chair – anything really – can come to symbolise them after they’re gone and can keep their memory alive, and that’s something to cherish right now.
“We need to take a moment to mark the huge amount of loss we’ve seen in the past 12 months and show support for everyone who has been bereaved – be that from Covid or any other cause.
“Many people are in shock, confused, upset, angry and unable to process what has happened. But there is an overwhelming need to come together, to remember, to grieve, to celebrate.”