Marie Curie launches new TV campaign for National Day of Reflection

Marie Curie is launching a new TV campaign, National Day of Reflection, to bring the nation together to remember those who died during the pandemic.

The UK’s leading end of life charity is spearheading a National Day of Reflection on 23rd March, the anniversary of the UK’s first lockdown.

Marie Curie together with over 100care organisations, charities, businesses, membership organisations, emergency services, public sector bodies and community groups are asking the nation to take a ‘minute to reflect and a moment to connect’, to remember, grieve for and celebrate the life of anyone who has died during the last year and to show solidarity for the millions of people who have been bereaved.

Over 670,000 people have died in the UK over the last 12 months, over 139,000 of those have been covid-related. Marie Curie estimates that over 6 million people have been bereaved since the pandemic began, and many have been unable to say goodbye to loved ones or grieve properly. The Day will allow us all to commemorate those who have died, and bring the UK together to pause, reflect and support each other this month and in years to come.

At the centre of the new campaign is a 60 second film which uses powerful visuals of possessions of real people and families, as well as additional footage and imagery to convey a message of remembrance. Shorter versions of the film will also run across TV and social media as part of the campaign, created by Saatchi and Saatchi.

The film is accompanied by ’Supermarket Flowers’ by Ed Sheeran, a song which was written about his late grandmother.  The song track was donated free and the ad concludes with the line ‘take a minute to reflect and a moment to connect’.

Carol Telfer, 61, is a chaplain at Marie Curie’s Glasgow Hospice. Her dad Jim, from Clydebank, was a reprographics manager. He worked at John Brown’s shipbuilding company and was an electrical draftsman on the QE2. He was diagnosed with vascular dementia last year and died on January 18, following a short illness with Covid. He was 89. Jim’s chair features in the 60s film. Carol said:

“I wanted dad to be part of this campaign to show all the people across the UK who are grieving that they’re not alone. That what we’ve all been through is significant, and that whether you’ve lost someone personally or not, we all need to be doing something to remember these people – and help the people who have been bereaved to process their grief.

“My step-mum took the photograph of dad’s chair. She said it was the most difficult photograph she’d ever taken in her life. It was then, when I got the photo, that the significance of that empty space really hit me.

“Dad’s empty chair represents so much for us as a family. That he’s really gone, it’s final, he’s never coming back. And there are so many people going through that across the country and the world, in the hardest of circumstances during a pandemic.”

The campaign will be initially rolled out on TV, social and digital (including Facebook and YouTube), followed by radio. It runs from 8 March until 23 March.

Marie Curie Chief Executive Matthew Reed said: “Possessions can be powerful reminders of the people we have loved and lost, as well as help us in our grieving process. A person’s clothing, personal items, books, plants, letters, empty chair – anything really, can come to symbolise them after they’re gone and can keep their memory alive – and that’s something to cherish right now.

“We need to take a moment to mark the huge amount of loss we’ve seen in the past 12 months and show support for everyone who has been bereaved – be that from covid or any other cause. Many people are in shock, confused, upset, angry and unable to process what has happened. But there is an overwhelming need to come together, to remember, to grieve, to celebrate.

“On 23 March, we invite everyone join together to hold a minute’s silence at 12 noon, take a moment to reach out to someone they know is grieving, and shine a light at 8pm.”

The National Day of Reflection will see; a nationwide minute of silence at 12 noon, followed by a bell toll at 12:01, and the nation appearing on their doorsteps at 20:00 to shine a light using phones, candles, torches – signifying a beacon of remembrance and support for the millions of people that have been bereaved over the last 12 months. Prominent buildings and iconic landmarks will also light up across the UK.

The charity, renowned for its annual Great Daffodil Appeal in March, hopes that the National Day of Reflection will become an annual event.

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