People who had lost a loved one to Covid-19 were invited to join an online, interfaith, memorial service at Manchester Cathedral last Thursday.
The Very Rev’d Rogers Govender, Dean of Manchester, led a socially distanced service inside the cathedral, streamed live on the cathedral’s Facebook page.
Dean Govender and Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham also launched an online book of remembrance at the service which can be found at https://gmremembers.org.uk/.
The book will form a permanent tribute to those who lost their lives to the pandemic in the city region.
People who have been bereaved will be able to upload the name and personal details of their loved one, together with a picture and a personal tribute. Those who worked for the NHS and social care will have a rainbow symbol added to their memory.
The tributes will also be available for everyone to read.
A number of specially invited guests were able to attend the service and among those was the Mayor of Tameside Cllr Janet Cooper (pictured).
Reporting at Tuesday night’s full Tameside Council meeting, she shared her experience of the moving service with fellow councillors and explained about the online book.
She also said it was an honour to take on the role and was looking forward to being able to visit more community groups in the future as lockdown gradually eases.
At the service Dean Govender said: “This service and the memorial are for everyone who has been touched by the terrible effects of Covid-19, those of all faiths and of none.
“We grieve for those who have lost their lives in our communities and we share in the loss and suffering of their families, friends and colleagues.
“It has also been so much harder for those who grieve because they have been unable to gather together and remember in the normal way because of the restriction on gatherings.
“So I hope this service and the memorial will allow them to be comforted and to share their memories even if it is too early to talk about achieving some sort of closure.”
Andy Burnham added: “It has been heartbreaking over the past few months to hear people’s personal stories of how they have been affected by the loss of a relative or friend.
“I hope also that this memorial will allow our community to pay particular tribute to those who worked in health and social care and who died of this disease. We will never forgot them and their service to our communities.”