People in Milton Keynes encouraged to observe minute's silence to mark one year since lockdown

March 23rd 2021 marks one year since the Prime Minister announced the nation would be going into its first lockdown.

The UK has since seen over 4.3 million cases and nearly 150,000 coronavirus related deaths, with 461 of those tragic passings taking place here in Milton Keynes.

It has been a turbulent time for everybody; it has been difficult for businesses, care home residents left being unable to see relatives, school children that lost 500 hours of contact time, residents that lost their jobs, families left unable to hug one another, and of course, people that lost a loved one to the virus. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he believes the past year has been one of the most difficult in the country's history.

So today, to mark the anniversary of the first lockdown and honour those that have lost their lives, the nation will be observing a 'national day of reflection'.

This has been organised by the end-of-life charity Marie Curie.

As part of the event, everybody is being encouraged to take part in a minute's silence at 12 pm today (23/3).

Boris Johnson has said he will observe the minute's silence privately. It will also be held in the Houses of Parliament.

Marking the anniversary, the Prime Minister said: "The last 12 months has taken a huge toll on us all, and I offer my sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones.

"Today, the anniversary of the first lockdown, is an opportunity to reflect on the past year - one of the most difficult in our country's history.

"We should also remember the great spirit shown by our nation over this past year.

"We have all played our part, whether it's working on the front line as a nurse or carer, working on vaccine development and supply, helping to get that jab into arms, home schooling your children, or just by staying at home to prevent the spread of the virus.

"It's because of every person in this country that lives have been saved, our NHS was protected, and we have started on our cautious road to easing restrictions once and for all."

Reflecting on the past year, Prince Charles, who is a patron of Marie Curie, added: "We have all been inspired by the resourcefulness we have witnessed, humbled by the dedication shown by so many, and moved, beyond words, by the sacrifices we have seen.

"Whatever our faith or philosophy may be, let us take a moment together to remember those who have been lost, to give thanks for their lives, and to acknowledge the inexpressible pain of parting.

"In their memory, let us resolve to work for a future inspired by our highest values, that have been displayed so clearly by the people of this country through this most challenging of times."

Across the country today, churches and cathedrals will toll bells, light thousands of candles and offer prayers to mark the lockdown anniversary.

Landmarks will also turn yellow, being lit up at nightfall. 

This includes the Peace Pagoda at Willen Lake and the Beacon in Campbell Park.