28 February 2024

NHS staff reflect at service to mark the anniversary of the first national lockdown

A special service was held at Salisbury Cathedral last night (22nd March 2022) to mark the second anniversary of the start of the first national lockdown back in March 2020.

‘We Reflect’ was held by the NHS Foundation Trust and followed the 24-month journey through the pandemic in three stages: Lament, Thanks and Hope and included newly commissioned readings, poetry from the hospital poet in residence Martin Figura and music from the Cathedral Boys and Youth Choirs.

The service remembered those lost during the pandemic while celebrating key workers, NHS staff, care workers and volunteers, and thank them for their tireless work and commitment.

Ruth Nartey lights a candle to symbolise Hope

New short monologues written by playwright Paula B Stanic were read by Isabella Peralta, Connie Roberts and Peter Biggs.

The monologues explored the experiences of different age groups during the pandemic – a care home worker, a 70-year-old alone at home and the 15-year-old daughter of a hospital worker. The characters created by Paula may be fictional, but their experiences strike close to home.

Speaking to Love Salisbury Paula said, “I wanted to write something for the service because of an enormous respect for all those who do or did essential work. Also out of a respect for how many people, like my parents and wider family dealt with the pandemic.

“Though it’s difficult with all that’s still going on, a few people gave their time and honest feelings. I was moved by their willingness and openness. I was particularly touched by the experiences of a person who works in adult social care. That conversation is still with me, it made me realise how vital it is to share our thoughts, feelings and conclusions, now feels like the time.

“There were so many feelings of frustration, sadness and anger around the pandemic it’s important to hear them. But I’m also struck by how many have been determined to find something in it to take us forward. I hope the monologues capture something of these experiences.”

readers Connie Roberts and Peter Biggs reading from the new work “Three Journeys” by Paula B Stanic

Isabella Peralta is the daughter of healthcare workers, she provided Paula with a copy of an article she wrote for her school newspaper which she shared with the congregation last night.

Isabella Peralta said, “I was inspired by the stories told by my parents and our friends about their experiences of the pandemic and the various lockdowns that we had.”

She went on to say she wanted to “express the views and experiences of people and give them a voice because sometimes they don’t feel like they have one. It felt really important for me to bring awareness.”

In addition, the award-winning poet Martin Figura performed a selection of poems he wrote as Poet in Residence at Salisbury NHS Trust last year, now published as ‘My Name is Mercy’.

Photography by Harley Shearstone.

Written by
Beth Doherty
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Written by Beth Doherty