One year on from the first national coronavirus lockdown, Mayor of Stevenage Councillor Jim Brown has addressed the town's residents.

“As we reflect this day on the many lives that were lost, in the saddest of circumstances, or altered forever by this dreadful pandemic, lending our thoughts to those still grieving the loss of their loved ones, we should find some encouragement that a return to normality is within reach.

“So, although today we will be remembering past recent events we must also now look ahead and think about how we can help each other to recover, heal and do our best to make sure that we never have to endure a repeat of the last 12 months.

“As our town motto says, the heart of this town really does lie in its people.

"Just look at the response of community groups, individual volunteers and key workers to the pandemic.

“Such an amazing community spirit has been fostered in our town and elsewhere, with people reaching out to those who have struggled financially, or whose usual support network was hampered by the restrictions.

"We came together to demonstrate the very best human qualities of selflessness, care and concern for those less fortunate. Let us not lose that.

“Let us remember that we all do better when we look out for our neighbours, friends and family in a spirit of cooperation.

"It has been a testing time, but let’s try to take what positives we can to come out of it with a new and better outlook for each other and a recovery that puts us back on track economically, environmentally and socially.”

One year on from the first COVID lockdown, 43.1 per cent of people all ages have received their first COVID jab in Hertfordshire and West Essex.

In Stevenage, there have sadly been 160 coronavirus-related deaths in Stevenage, as of March 21.

At the time of publishing, there were 36 people in Lister Hospital with the virus, two of whom were on ventilation.

A dedicated vaccine hub at the hospital is set to close next month, as the service began to wind down when the Robertson House vaccine centre opened.