The Corn Exchange in King's Lynn was lit up yellow, to mark the National Day of Reflection. Picture: Ian Burt

Messages of hope for the future and the need to stay strong resounded this week as West Norfolk remembered those lost since the country first went into lockdown.

As the nation held a Day of Reflection on Tuesday to mark the one year anniversary, yellow ribbons and candle lighting formed part of the local tribute to those who have died during the pandemic.

And as we look to the future,   the leader of Norfolk County Council Andrew Proctor said he was confident the county could “build back better”.

Mr Proctor said his thoughts were with those affected by the death or serious illness of a loved one during such a difficult year.

“It has been so hard to grieve, with numbers limited at funerals and travel restrictions in place,” he said.

“I have been consistently humbled by Norfolk’s response to this unprecedented pandemic. 

“People have made great personal sacrifices to follow the rules and try to curb Covid – not seeing loved ones, friends and colleagues.  And that’s been a really hard call for everyone.”

He said the true spirit of “working together better” had been highlighted with authorities, NHS, schools, care sector, emergency services and volunteers rallying to protect the vulnerable and keep key services running.

He said government financial assistance had been vital for businesses and councils, and the vaccination programme and Covid testing had increased confidence.

“I want to retain the positives of the last year – strong community spirit, effective partnership working and a resilient, response economy – so that Norfolk can build back better,” Mr Proctor said.

Margaret Wilkinson, deputy leader of West Norfolk Council, recorded a message on social media saying but for the efforts of the health service and lockdown, the “situation would have developed into something far, far worse”.

“But inevitably there are many of us who are missing someone close,” she said.

Mrs Wilkinson, whose husband Peter died earlier this year, said it was a day to reflect on loved ones lost.

“Stay strong, please have your vaccinations. We are all in this together. Stay home, save our NHS,” she said.

Yellow ribbons were tied to railings outside King’s Lynn Minster and the nearby town hall was flooded with yellow light in tribute. 

The Corn Exchange in the Tuesday Market Place was also lit up in yellow.

A minute’s silence at noon was followed by tolling of one of the Minster bells. 

There was a live streamed candle lighting tribute from the Saturday Market Place Minster in the evening.

The Day of Reflection had been spearheaded by charity Marie Curie whose community fundraiser for Norfolk, Helen Chapman, said: “We hope with such a public show of support that the families of the 1,800 people across Norfolk who have lost their lives to COVID-19 will feel the support of the county.”