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Always In Our Thoughts – A year of lockdown, and a humble gesture

A campaign that came to life in honour of those that were lost to Covid-19. We discuss the past year of lockdown and the campaign that shone a small light in the dark.

Over a year has passed since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the start of the first UK lockdown due to the coronavirus. On March 23rd 2020, the country saw the closure of shops and businesses, with the exception of those deemed important and essential. With many of the general public being put on furlough pay, and the death toll rising, the country and indeed the rest of the world, was plunged into an ever-mentioned uncertainty. Particular words became common-place, and phrases began to encourage eye-rolls and irritability. We washed our hands, covered our faces, and gave each other space at the behest of our government and experts. We experienced unprecedented times, and our leaders attempted to rally us against this invisible foe. Our collective vocabulary adopted words and terms that we never seemed to require before. “Isolating”, “quarantine”, “lockdown”—words that were reserved for dystopian thrillers and b-side horror movies were now rampantly pervading our airwaves.

We’ve now experienced potentially the worst global event in many of our lives, to date. Every one of us has been affected by this virus, in some way. People have lost jobs, some haven’t seen their family for an entire year, and tragically, too many have lost their lives, or their loved ones to Covid-19.

This event has not been entirely shrouded in negativity and despair. Adversity, as ever, has brought out the best in society. Whilst observing safe practices, communities have delivered charity to the lonely, the self- isolating, and the frail. Fundraising has taken place to support those in dire circumstances, and a general sense of unity has spread across the country. The Always In Our Thoughts campaign, founded by Romail Gulzar, sought to raise money for two wonderful Leicester-based charities, the Care of Police Survivors (COPS) charity, and the Leicestershire Children’s Hospital Appeal. All whilst promoting the remembrance of those that have had their lives sadly destroyed by this devastating virus. Members of the public were encouraged to buy and wear a badge that signified this remembrance along with it being a show of unity with those that are sacrificing their time and energy to keep others safe on the collectively-known, and conceptual “front-line”.

Image Credit: Pukaar News

Mr. Gulzar said: “We are incredibly proud and humbled by the response this campaign has had from the public. I came up with the idea whilst trying to find any possible way to show my support for those that have struggled. Once I had the foundation of that idea, it only took a few weeks to get the ball rolling and we had orders coming in for our C19 Flower Badges! Not just from Leicester either, we had badges being bought from all across the country, from Devon to Newcastle.

Honestly, I didn’t expect it to take off so well in such a short amount of time with restricted planning. We’re not a huge team, and so we have worked tirelessly and also relied on the kindness of others to distribute these badges. The entire funds raised for these badges will be going in full to these two charities. It’s a small gesture, but we aim for it to be even bigger next year, and the year after that. We will never forget those that have been lost, nor will we forget the sacrifice of others. They will always be in our thoughts.”

So far, the campaign has raised £5336. We would like to thank everyone who has supported us this year.