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Chris Lubbe, NHS worker, joins Marie Curie and Winchester Cathedral in supporting a National Day of Reflection for bereaved

March 18, 2021

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A day to remember those who have died during the pandemic, and to show solidarity for everyone who has been bereaved, is gaining support across Hampshire and the UK. The National Day of Reflection, led by end of life charity Marie Curie, will take place on Tuesday 23rd March, the anniversary of the UK going into the first national lockdown. 

The charity hopes the day will bring the whole of the UK  together to reflect on the collective loss, support those who’ve been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future.   

Joining a host of national charities, organisations and celebrities supporting the day is Winchester Cathedral, which will be creating a giant ‘green’ cross of remembrance and hope, adorned with daffodils and other spring flowers, and outlined by candles. This will be displayed in the centre of the Nave of the cathedral on Monday 22nd March. In addition, the Cathedral will also be observing the minute’s silence at 12 noon and local residents are invited to light a candle and pray throughout the day. In addition to this, TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh MBE will also be doing a special reading on the day. 

The Dean of Winchester, the Very Revd Catherine Ogle, said: 

“Winchester Cathedral will be supporting the National Day of Reflection to remember those who have died during the pandemic, and to show support for everyone who has been bereaved. This annual day allows us to come together, to reflect and commemorate the lives of everyone that has died during this time, from Covid and other causes, to pray for them, and to stand in solidarity. We invite you to join the live-streamed minute’s silence at 12 noon, and the special Evensong, taking place around the cross at 5.30pm to reflect on the unprecedented loss and to stand with those who are grieving”. 

Also supporting the National Day is NHS worker Chris Lubbe, 58, originally from South Africa, now based in Hampshire. Shockingly, Chris was bereaved ten times during the pandemic after four very close friends, aunts, cousins and his sister Margie died. Chris found out about the death of his sister over Whatsapp and had to watch the funeral over zoom. Sharing his experience Chris said:

“Being bereaved during the pandemic has been really hard and it’s complicated my grief because I couldn’t be there and I couldn’t be close to the body. In South African tradition you actually say goodbye to the person. You come face to face, and you touch the face before the person gets buried so being unable to do that was difficult and strange for me. 

“It’s hard to comprehend others’ grief as all we see are statistics on the TV and I’m struggling to feel like my grief has been recognised. I’m supporting Marie Curie’s National Day of Reflection as I feel there needs to be some sort of recognition of those who have died during this pandemic, and those who have been left behind bereaved. 

“We need to mark the loss of life, because otherwise how do we come to terms with the fact that it’s happened? On the 23rd March, I will take a moment to reflect, together with my family, we are going to sit in the garden and just listen to the elements. We may just go to the seaside as a family because Margie loved the sea, we’ll take a photo of her and just take some time to remember her life.” 

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 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.” 

The National Day of Reflection takes place during Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal. Every year, the Appeal raises money to help people at the end of life to get the care and support they need – which is more important than ever this year. 

Other activities planned include a series of free online talks and conversations, featuring expert panels, bereaved families and celebrities throughout the afternoon. To find out more about the National Day of Reflection visit: #DayofReflection