MPs back Marie Curie campaign for a day to commemorate those who have died since lockdown

More than 50 MPs have lent their support to Marie Curie’s campaign to make 23 March a “national day of reflection” to remember the lives lost since the UK first went into lockdown on the same date this year.

Twenty-seven MPs have signed a letter to the Prime Minister asking for his support for the plan. Their number includes seven Conservative and 15 Labour politicians as well as the former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron.

Another group of about 25 MPs have not signed the letter but have “committed support to their constituents”, according to Marie Curie. 

The charity is hoping other charities will show support for the day becoming an occasion for people to mourn those who have died during a period in which the coronavirus pandemic restrictions have made grieving and commemoration difficult. 

It estimates that since 23 March this year more than 1.4 million people have experienced a close bereavement. 

A spokeswoman for the charity said: “We are hoping to bring together a range of partners from across the UK to co-create the day of reflection, such as organisations representing frontline workers, businesses, faith groups, community groups, schools, charities, and national and local governments. 

“We are already working with the National Care Forum and National Activity Providers Association, and believe other organisations can play a crucial role in making this day happen.”

The charity is also running a public petition for the day of reflection, which has already been signed by more than 10,000 people. It is hoping additional signatories will result from this week’s public relations work, featuring case studies of bereaved people.

The day is also being backed by celebrities including Alison Steadman, Paul Chuckle, Chris Kamara and Greg Wise, along with Becky Gompertz, whose family founded the Yellow Hearts movement of remembrance for people who died during lockdown. 

Matthew Reed, chief executive of Marie Curie, said: “As the nation faces the potential of further lockdown measures, we mustn’t forget the thousands and thousands of people who have, and continue to be, bereaved in very difficult circumstances, be that from coronavirus or other causes.”

March has historically also been the month of Marie Curie’s annual Great Daffodil Appeal, and the spokeswoman confirmed the 2021 edition is being planned on that basis.

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