Mansfield falls silent on first anniversary of Covid lockdown
Mansfield joined the nation for a minute’s silence to remember those who have died from coronavirus over the past year.
The town’s mayor Andy Abrahams led the silent tribute at noon today (Tuesday) as part of a National Day of Reflection to commemorate the first anniversary of Britain being plunged into lockdown to curb the virus.
Civic Centre flags were hung at half mast and at dusk the Bentinck Memorial in Mansfield Market Place will be lit in blue, recognising the NHS and emergency services.
Mr Abrahams and Mariam Amos, strategic director of Mansfield District Council, also lit candles in front of the Old Town Hall before the silence.
In a live Facebook address, the mayor said the past year had been ‘extraordinary’.
"Few would have believed that on March 23, 2020, when deaths linked to Covid stood at 335, that a year on, we would be mourning the loss of 126,172 people – a figure greater than the entire population of this district,” he said.
"Thankfully, following weeks of lockdown and with the continuing roll-out of the vaccination programme, the future is now looking more hopeful and I am sure, knowing the resilience of the people of Mansfield, we will get through this as a community to build back better and stronger.”
But he urged people to adhere to Government guidelines.
“We cannot afford to relax the rules just yet,” he said.
"We owe it to the memories of those we have lost to make sure all of us do everything to prevent more families losing precious loved ones before their time."
Ms Amos said it was a ‘day of sombre reflection’ but also one to ‘look forward with hope for better times ahead’.
"I am heartened and proud of how the council and the good people of Mansfield have responded with care and at speed to one of the most challenging periods for decades, for both local people and local businesses,” she said.
"We must now find the resolve to recover from this pandemic and build on the networks of support and unity that have built up over the past year.
"Working together and with unified purpose and supporting each other is what will help people and businesses back on their feet sooner."