Why we want to help you celebrate the lives of loved ones lost to coronavirus

They are not just a number - that's why we want to help you remember them.

Thursday, 16th April 2020, 6:00 am
'Here to help you say goodbye' - Graeme Bandiera's Yorkshire Post cartoon.

With every passing day the coronavirus death toll climbs mercilessly, and reports follow in national newspapers, TV and radio news bulletins advising us that record deaths and diagnoses have hit the nation.

Almost akin to days gone by, people - families - are tuning in to their television sets as one, keen to respectfully receive the Government’s daily briefing, and heed whatever guidance its health and science experts offer.

At a relentless pace our lives have been transformed beyond the recognition of all but those who endured the perils of the Second World War, and the challenges placed upon us, be they emotional, financial, logistical or otherwise, are unprecedented.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

This Easter weekend was particularly sombre as we learned from Government experts that the UK death toll has now surpassed 10,000. Ten thousand people. All individuals. Lives cut short. Loved ones left behind; bereft.

Yorkshire alone has seen more than 700 people succumb to Covid-19, with the Office of National Statistics suggesting all numbers currently being given are at least 10 per cent shy of the likely reality, with so many dying outside of hospital. Care homes in particular.

Of course, the numbers associated with this pandemic: the diagnoses, the deaths and - something we seem to hear much less about - the many thousands of people who recover quickly and fully from the virus, are important.

However, and this is the reason why we have taken this never-before taken step to address the whole county as one through the many newspapers for which we are responsible that collectively reach 1m people across the county: we believe the people - their families and their friends behind the numbers - are infinitely more important than the statistics that so dominate the headlines.

As editors of Yorkshire’s most trusted news outlets - with almost three quarters of a century of service to the communities we serve between us - we want you to know that we regard it as our duty to record the lives of those who perish, for time immemorial.

By capturing your memories we hope to allow those affected by the loss of loved ones to this cruellest of diseases to record for posterity the love, affection and high esteem in which so many of those lost to coronavirus are held. We do hope that in offering ourselves to help with telling their stories that it will help in some small way with the grieving process, allowing others to share in your pride for your loved ones and to feel a little of the joy they brought to you and those around them.

Equally, we hope that in time the celebratory portraits of those lost will serve as a reminder to future generations as to the catastrophic consequences that can, have and will continue to arise out of any contemplation of complacency when it comes to public health. Those who inherit Yorkshire from us must not look back at only numbers but at the names and faces of those who fall.

And so, with that, we implore you to stay safe. Stay home. Protect the amazing NHS workers. Save lives.

Jean MacQuarrie, Editor-in-Chief Yorkshire Weeklies

Laura Collins, Editor, YEP

James Mitchinson, Editor, The Yorkshire Post

If you have lost a loved one to coronavirus and would like to celebrate their life with others: email [email protected] - Tell us a little about them, so we can share your tribute in our newspapers, and please, if you feel able, email a treasured photo to remember them by.