There will be a national minute’s silence at midday on Tuesday to mark the one year anniversary since the first coronavirus lockdown was announced.

A national memorial service is being held in Cardiff at 5pm and First Minister Mark Drakeford will take part in a televised event which will be broadcast on BBC One Wales from 5.45pm. Ifor ap Glyn, the National Poet of Wales, will read a poem written especially for the anniversary of lockdown.

And people are being encouraged to stand on their doorsteps at 8pm with phones, candles and torches to signify a “beacon of remembrance”.

More than 146,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the UK since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest government data. On March 23, 2020, when the first lockdown started, that figure was 335.

A number of landmarks across Wales, like Cardiff Castle and the Menai Suspension Bridge, will be lit up in the colour yellow as part of the event.

Churches and cathedrals will toll bells, and light thousands of candles and offer prayers.

It was announced last week that two woodlands will be created in Wales in memory of those who have died from coronavirus during the pandemic.

The locations in north and south Wales will be designed to act as a permanent memorial “where families and others can come to remember all those we have lost”.

One of the families who will be remembering a loved one are the Whitfields from Penarth.

Former teacher John Whitfield died six days after testing positive in December last year.

John and his wife Sandra

His daughter Lydia will be heading down to the seafront to see the pier lit up for the event and to remember a much-loved husband, father and grandfather.

Lydia says: “It still hasn’t sunk in that we have lost Dad. He was the most adored man in the world, but it is nice to have a way to remember him and all the others we have lost in the past year.”

First Minister Mark Drakeford will take part in a televised National Coronavirus Commemorative Event presented by Welsh newsreader Huw Edwards and will give the country a chance to “pay our respects to those we’ve lost and express our sympathy to those who are grieving for their loved ones”.

The Welsh Government said it would provide “a chance to reflect on how the pandemic has had a profound impact on every community in Wales and celebrate how people in those communities have sustained each other”.

Ahead of the event, Mr Drakeford said: “Over the last 12 months, the pandemic has turned all our lives upside down.

“Too many families have lost loved ones and close friends and so many people haven’t had a chance to say goodbye because of all the changes coronavirus has meant to our lives.

“It’s really important we have an opportunity to come together to reflect on the last year and to unite to support each other through this tough time.”

Ifor ap Glyn, the National Poet of Wales, will read a poem written especially for the Commemoration, which will also feature a recorded performance from the Morriston Hospital Emergency Department Choir.

Boris Johnson has said coronavirus restrictions are being eased “once and for all” as the UK marks the anniversary of the first national lockdown.

Boris Johnson addresses the nation from 10 Downing Street as he places the UK on lockdown as the government seeks to stop the spread of coronavirus Covid-19
(Image: PA)

The UK Prime Minister offered his “sincere condolences to those who have lost loved ones” and praised the “great spirit” displayed ahead of the nation pausing in remembrance on Tuesday.

With the official death toll passing 126,172 deaths, Mr Johnson warned a third wave of Covid-19 cases being seen in France and Italy could “wash up on our shores as well”.

Ahead of a minute’s silence at midday, Mr Johnson praised those who developed and rolled out vaccines, parents who homeschooled their children and the public who endured social distancing.

“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,” he said in a statement.

* The National Coronavirus Commemorative Event will be broadcast on BBC One Wales and S4C at 5.15pm on Tuesday.

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