Day of reflection: Remembering loved ones who lost their lives during the Covid pandemic

ITV News Meridian's Charlotte Wilkins spoke to Rachel Cashman about her mum who passed away during the pandemic

It is two years since the UK was told to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

Since then, 164,000 people have died of Covid-19, but many more people have lost their lives during the pandemic.

End of life charity Marie Curie is encouraging the nation to come together for the National Day of Reflection, giving people the opportunity to connect and a chance to support the millions of people who are grieving, and remember the family, friends, neighbours and colleagues lost during the last two years.

Rachel and her mum, Anne. Credit: Rachel Cashman

Rachel Cashman's mum, Anne died of cancer last year.

Her diagnosis was delayed due to the lockdowns, and because they could only communicate via Zoom, Rachel was unable to see the significant weight loss her mum had undergone which is a key symptom.

Rachel says Covid restrictions made it incredibly hard for her to care for her mum who lived in Edinburgh during the final six months of her life.

Luckily, she received great support from the Marie Curie community palliative care team in arranging home aids, but unfortunately there were not enough hospice beds when her mother became very poorly.

Rachel had to pay £10,000 for her to go into a private care home.

The result is that she and her fiancé Geoff had to put their wedding plans on hold until this year.

A two minute silence was held at Canterbury Cathedral on Wednesday. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Rachel Cashman said: "My mum was a voracious reader, she gave me five of her favourite books to read before she died.

"So I feel quite comfortable that I can take a moment to read those books this afternoon, think about her and think about the last year that we had together."

Events have been held across the region to mark the day.

A reflection service was held Canterbury Cathedral, and Bell Harry tolled as it had every evening during the early days of the pandemic.

The cathedral hopes the familiar sound will be seen as a comfort and a symbol of solidarity to help "get through dark times".

  • Canon Missioner, Emma Pennington

Everyone is being being encouraged to mark the day by lighting a candle or putting a light in our windows to remember loved ones, friends, neighbours and colleagues who lost their lives.