Today is a Day of Reflection across the UK to mark the anniversary of the start of the first Covid-19 lockdown.
A minute’s silence and a doorstep vigil will be held as people pause to remember both loved ones and strangers lost during the global pandemic.
It’s been a strange, unsettling and tragic 12 months and, for many, life will never be the same again.
Tens of thousands have died, lives and livelihoods have been turned upside down and freedoms and liberties have been restricted like never before.
A minute’s silence will be held at 12noon and it is hoped people will help create a nationwide “beacon of remembrance” on their doorsteps by beaming phones, candles and torches into the night sky at 8pm.
Victoria Tower at Castle Hill will be illuminated in yellow light and hospices across Yorkshire, including Huddersfield’s The Kirkwood, will light up their gardens.
Michael Crowther, chief executive at The Kirkwood, said: “The Coronavirus has deeply affected all our lives, and our livelihoods, this year.
“We have been asked to remain distant from those we care about and to make huge sacrifices. Many of us are grieving for someone close to us, whether a family member, a friend or a colleague.
“Every year, we support hundreds of people in our community who have been bereaved and need help.
“During this period of national crisis, we have stepped in to offer our services to those bereaved through Coronavirus too, so we are lighting the tree in our gardens to remember and pay tribute to all those who have died or been bereaved by Coronavirus.”
In the last 12 months people have been told to stay at home and have been banned from seeing loved ones. All but essential keyworkers have been told to work from home; millions were furloughed; ten of thousands have lost their jobs. Even holidays are illegal.
While the last 12 months have been a challenge, communities came together to support eachother, neighbours helping neighbours.
In Meltham local photographer Olivia Hemingway created a series of poster images documenting that first lockdown.
Now, as the UK follows a roadmap out of lockdown, the poster series – entitled: SMALL WORLDS – has been installed at The People’s Meeple board game café in Huddersfield town centre.
Using the windows of the New Street shop as a gallery, the community of Meltham has been able to share their experiences with a wider audience.
The photographic project is inspired by personal interviews, all carried out in accordance with social distancing rules at the time.
The SMALL WORLDS series has brought together the stories of struggles, strength, community spirit, humour and expressions of hope.
The poster display features 12 images coupled with stories which offer an opportunity for the people of Huddersfield as a whole to reflect on their own experiences of lockdown. The posters will be displayed until The People’s Meeple re-opens.
The project was facilitated by Meltham.org which was the local response to the lockdown restrictions. It has supported over 1,000 households with shopping and prescription drop-offs. Its volunteers also provided practical and emotional support.
It was funded by community groups in Meltham including The Crossroads Project; which has supported hundreds of vulnerable people throughout lockdown; the Holme Valley North ward councillors Clr Paul White, Clr Charles Greaves and Clr Terry Lyons; Meltham Town Council; Meltham Walkers are Welcome; and The Carlile Institute.
Olivia Hemingway is an artist and photographer working primarily in London and West Yorkshire. She has exhibited internationally and has also had a solo show at Huddersfield Art Gallery.
Specialising in portraiture and personal narrative, her portfolio includes Sir Quentin Blake, Paul Kaye, Sir Patrick Stewart, Jodie Whittaker, Lena Headey, Dizzee Rascal, Massive Attack and Flight of the Conchords.