Commemorative services have taken place at Royal Star & Garter’s Homes as part of the Covid-19 National Day of Reflection, on Tuesday 23 March.
Staff and residents at the charity’s three Homes in Solihull, Surbiton and High Wycombe observed a one-minute silence at midday, and planted a cherry blossom tree in their gardens. There was also poetry read by residents and staff.
Royal Star & Garter provides loving, compassionate care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia.
The Day of Reflection took place exactly one year after the first stay-at-home order was announced.
The trees will serve as a living memorial for residents and recognise the efforts of staff, who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to ensure residents continue receiving exceptional care.
Seven residents died at the Surbiton Home in April and May 2020. Some of these residents had Covid-19 listed on their death certificate. In Royal Star & Garter’s Solihull Home, one resident has died after contracting Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. No residents have tested positive for the virus in the charity’s High Wycombe Home over the past 12 months.
At Surbiton, a trumpeter played the Last Post and Reveille. Staff also tied seven ribbons to the tree in memory of the seven residents who died in April and May last year.
Speaking from the Home, Royal Star & Garter’s Chief Executive Andy Cole thanked residents for their patience and perseverance, and staff for their professionalism and dedication. He said: “It’s been an extraordinary year for everyone. Today is a time to reflect on what we have overcome, and all we have lost. I look forward to the rest of the year with renewed hope.”
Bernard, a resident at Surbiton, said: “I lost good friends at the Home last year, and I’m glad they’re being remembered with this beautiful tree.”
High Wycombe Home Manager Reggie Ballos said: “Our residents wanted to share in the National Day of Reflection to remember all those who have suffered during the pandemic. The tree we’ve planted makes a beautiful living tribute to everyone who lost their lives and gives us a focal point for reflection.”