Her Majesty the Queen and the Mayor of London have paid tribute to Barts Health staff to commemorate Marie Curie’s National Day of Reflection.
The day of reflection, which is today (23 March), marks the anniversary of the first national lockdown in the UK.
Staff from across Barts Health came together for a minute's silence at midday to reflect on the past year and remember those who have died and those that continue to be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Queen thanked staff at St Bartholomew’s Hospital with a bouquet of flowers and a message to mark the National Day of Reflection. The bouquet of flowers was made up of: iris, tulips, mixed narcissi (mini daffodils) and ranunculus.
The flowers, accepted by on behalf of St Bartholomew’s by chief executive Professor Charles Knight OBE at a small ceremony in the hospital’s historic square, were delivered from Windsor Castle with a note that said: “As we look forward to a brighter future together, today we pause to reflect on the grief and loss that continues to be felt by so many people and families, and pay tribute to the immeasurable service of those who have supported us all over the last year.”
Professor Knight said: “I would like to thank Her Majesty for these beautiful flowers and I’m delighted to accept the bouquet on behalf of the hospital and for everyone being remembered on this day of national reflection.
“I would also like to thank all our staff at St Bartholomew’s for going above and beyond to care for our patients and support one another during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“These flowers are for you and represent all that you continue to do every day – I’m in awe of you.”
Marie Curie nurse Clare Horgan, who provides end of life care in the community, said: “On behalf of Marie Curie, I would like to thank Her Majesty The Queen for her thoughtful words and kind gesture of support for the National Day of Reflection.
“I’ve been supporting dying people and their families in the community since the start of the pandemic and know how important today will be for those who are going through bereavement.
“We hope that today will provide everyone with the time and space to reflect on the last year and to show their support to someone who is grieving at this difficult time.”
Elizabeth Abraham, modern matron at Newham Hospital’s intensive care unit, also represented Barts Health and the NHS in London at a commemorate event with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
The London Blossom Garden is being created as a lasting, living memorial to Londoners who have lost their lives to Covid-19, which will honour the vital efforts of key workers and mark the impact of the pandemic on the capital.
The garden is being developed by the Greater London Authority (GLA) with the National Trust and will feature a total of 33 blossoming trees that represent all London boroughs and the City of London.
Elizabeth helped the Mayor of London, Nicola Briggs of the National Trust and staff from Transport for London plant the final two trees today.
The garden is due to open later in springtime.