Across the county people are observing a day of reflection in memory of the lives that have been lost to COVID-19.

The national day of reflection on March 23 marks the anniversary of the first lockdown, and a whole year of living under restrictions.

Stevenage Borough Council is remembering those who have died by flying the Union Flag at half-mast at Daneshill House and the bowling green for the duration of the day.

The Comet: Mayor of Stevenage Cllr Jim Brown lit a candle for the day of reflectionMayor of Stevenage Cllr Jim Brown lit a candle for the day of reflection (Image: Stevenage Borough Council)

The council also set up dedicated mailboxes to receive comments and messages of condolence from the public - at and

At midday, a minute's silence was held, with bells at places of worship and the Clock Tower ringing at 12.01pm for one minute.

Tonight, the Clock Tower will be lit up in yellow at 8pm to coincide with the national doorstep vigil. Residents will be encouraged to place a light in their windows or stand in their doorways holding lights.

Herts County Council is also supporting the day of reflection by flying its flags at half-mast.

Chief executive Owen Mapley said: "We know the pandemic will have a lasting impact for many years to come. Most notably this is felt by those who have lost loved ones, friends, neighbours or colleagues. My heartfelt condolences go out to everyone who has been touched by loss.

“The challenges that everyone has faced have been unprecedented, but I have been continually inspired by the dedication, selflessness, creativity and resilience that I have seen demonstrated across the council.

“As we start to look ahead with a tentative sense of optimism for a return to normality, the day of reflection gives us all an opportunity to reflect on what has been a year like no other.”

The day of reflection is spearheaded by end-of-life charity Marie Curie.

The charity's chief executive Matthew Reed said: "We need to mark the huge amount of loss we’ve seen this year and show support for everyone who has been bereaved in the most challenging of circumstances.

"We cannot simply stand by and not recognise the effects the pandemic has had on the bereaved. We know people are in shock, confused, upset, angry and unable to process what has happened."