National Day of Reflection

On Tuesday 23 March, Oxfordshire County Council will be joining the rest of the UK in marking a year since the first national lockdown. Councillor Ian Hudspeth, the leader of the county council, reflects on a unique and challenging 12 months locally, nationally and internationally.

“Twelve months ago today our first national lockdown started. At that stage in our lives COVID-19 was more of an unknown quantity than it is now and, with people suddenly working and being educated from home, our worlds and horizons changed hugely.

"As families, colleagues and friends we quickly had to find ways of adapting to new routines and realities to deliver important services in our day jobs and provide support to loved ones in our home lives.

"With over 125,000 lives lost and so many people having experienced the virus, there has been real loss and sadness. Contact with family has been much less extensive and our freedom to come and go as we please has not been as we would wish it to be.

"Tuesday’s National Day of Reflection is a chance for everyone in Oxfordshire to remember those who have lost their lives to COVID, to offer our support to those who have been bereaved, and to simply look back at what we’ve been through.

"At the county council will be marking the minute’s silence at midday on 23 March, and the flag will be flown at half-mast at County Hall

"The dignity, resilience and fortitude shown by Oxfordshire people throughout this period has been admirable. That brand new advice given out 12 months ago about keeping a distance, washing hands and staying at home is being observed now as it was then and the different restrictions we’ve had in the meantime were also respected. These simple examples of people taking individual responsibility have all helped in dealing with the COVID-19 challenge.

“Each day the national vaccine rollout brings more and more hope and we are already on a very gradual return to normality. However we must never forget those who have lost their lives and the loved ones who mourn them. Tomorrow is an appropriate moment to look back soberly as well as to look forward with a degree of optimism.