Names of 500 Brighton and Hove Covid victims read to Service of Compassion

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THE NAMES of the 500 people who died from Covid-19 in Brighton and Hove were read during a compassionate service.

Tributes were paid to those who have died throughout the pandemic at the interfaith event in Brighton Dome on Sunday 17th October.

The city’s political leaders led the tributes, as did locals including bus driver Nathalie Wahlen, funeral director Tora Colwill and poet Grace Nichols.

Students from Brighton and Hove Sixth Form College read the names of those who had died from Covid-19 against the backdrop of Bach’s The Art of Fugue, performed by the Florentine String Quartet.

Brighton Mayor and Hove Alan Robins recalled how he lost his sister Mary to Covid in August this year.

Mayor of Brighton and Hove Alan Robins

He said: “She has spent the last three weeks of her time on earth in an oxygen hood in a futile attempt to save her life. We all loved him so much.

“To all of you who have lost someone, I know and share your grief and pain. And I hope and pray that we can all find peace.

“Let’s face it, compassion, whether it’s called love, kindness, humanity, self-giving or some other name, it’s something we all need.

“A world with compassion is a better place for all of us. ”

East Sussex Vice Lord Lieutenant Sara Stoner also spoke of the “hope and kindness” that had sprung from the community during and after the lockdown.

Hove MP Peter Kyle, Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas and Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle also gave readings.

The shorts shown to the public featured the family of John Goddard, who died of Covid on Christmas Day, as well as school children giving their thoughts on the pandemic.

Brighton-based Soul of the City choir, six-woman group The Cheer Up Mollys and musician Kora Jali Burama Mbye also lifted the spirits with musical interludes.

The event, hosted by the Interfaith Contact Group, also featured community groups who had supported the community throughout the pandemic.

These included Together Co (Loneliness and Friendship), Off the Fence: Resisting Poverty, Empowering People and the Umeus Foundation, which supports women facing anxiety and trauma.

A Covid commemorative quilt was also on display, along with an art installation of origami cranes.

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