Today we remember everyone we've lost, everyone who has struggled due to Covid - Leeds Rector Sam Corley

One year on from the start of the first lockdown and I guess we are all in a reflective mood.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 6:00 am
It has been a year since lockdown began

Many of us will be thinking of the family and friends we have lost in the past year. For too many, the pain of parting was made harder by not being able to say goodbye in the way we would have liked, and then the restrictions made it so hard to celebrate their lives in the way they deserved and the way we desired. So many individual lives behind the numbers. Today we remember them.

Others are struggling with the long-term impact of Covid on their health. Others are fearing for their jobs. Many on the front line are so tired that they are wondering how long they can go on for. Yet we know there is still a long way to go. Today we remember them.

Or we might be thinking of people we know for whom big things have happened, but not in the way any of us imagined. Students who have started new schools. Those who have sat exams or left home for college or University. People who have married, or not been able to marry. Those who have had babies. People who have started new jobs and yet have never actually ‘been’ into work. Today we remember them.

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We might also be thinking of the people who have helped us. As we have navigated new routines, worked out how to shop in ways that keep us safe, made sure we have access to what we need, all of us have been helped in one way or another by the kindness of others. Today we remember them.

Then of course there are the staff and volunteers working across our city, even today, vaccinating thousands of us. Along with the scientists, those involved in the trials, the manufacturers and the distributors, they are gifting us with a shot at being safe; at being able to move forwards. Today we remember them.

And then, after a year when so many plans have been postponed or cancelled, we might be reflecting on what, or who, really matters to us. Who will be the people we will see first? What will we say to them? What stories do we need to share with others to help us move forward? Today we remember them.

People, it is about people. As we reflect on the past year, we are remembering people. And as we look to what is ahead of us, perhaps today can help us remember that it is among the people around us that we discover the greatest gifts we have ever been given.