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Surrey County Council marks COVID anniversary with ‘condolence and reflection’

Surrey County Council is marking the national day of reflection one year on from the first COVID lockdown with an internal staff event.

Staff will also mark the one minute’s silence at 12pm on 23rd March and a digital book of condolence has been opened for staff to pay their respects to those colleagues and loved ones who have lost their lives to COVID.

Joanna Killian, Chief Executive of Surrey County Council, said: “The last 12 months have been incredibly difficult – for residents and also for our staff who have been working hard throughout.

“One year on from the first lockdown signifies a poignant marker and a moment in which staff want to remember those lost, to reflect on the lives impacted by this dreadful virus and very difficult 12 months.

“It is important for us to take stock and take the time away from our busy working lives to quietly reflect.”

The council has also worked with some of Surrey’s prominent faith leaders, who have issued their own messages of support and reflection.

Jo Wells, Bishop of Dorking, said: “We all need both space and permission to grieve – whether over the loss of loved ones, or the loss of opportunity, or a loss of confidence and certainty.

“When we come together to lament, in silence and in solidarity, in reflection and/or in prayer – even just for a shared moment of pause in the middle of the day! – I pray that each of us may find solace in community, beauty even amid pain, and hope for the future.”

Imam Hashmi, of Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking, said: “One year on, we think about all the lives that have been lost and the impact that has had on loved ones, especially those who have not been able to grieve properly with the presence of their extended family members, friends and community, and not have the support networks that would have normally been around.

“We think of and give thanks to all those who have worked selflessly and tirelessly during this pandemic, those who knew about the risk to their own lives yet remained committed to serve those around them.

“This pandemic has also brought out much good; we have seen communities coming together to support front line workers and those in need of support, neighbours taking care of each other and building community resilience.

“We pray for inner and outer peace, joy and the continued support of goodwill.”

Rabbi Alex Goldberg, University of Surrey’s Coordinating Chaplain and Dean of the College of Chaplains, said: “This has been a tough year for us all.

“At this time I am thinking of those that we have lost to this pandemic and our collective sense of loss whilst also giving thanks to all those serving on the frontline as key workers providing service to our communities.

“Hoping, as we come to the Passover weekend, that this plague shall pass and we shall soon all be free to return to our normal lives”.

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