More than 600 people have died from Covid-19 in Coventry – with the city’s Lord Mayor tearful as she reflected on a turbulent past 12 months.

March 26 marks a year since the country was plunged into a first national lockdown, with a minute’s silence at midday planned in memory of all the lives lost.

The greatest crisis since the Second World War has seen 146,487 deaths linked to Covid-19 in the UK, with 608 of those in Coventry.

There is light at the end of the tunnel though with a vaccination programme which has already given more than 24 million people their first dose.

Speaking in her last full council meeting as Lord Mayor of Coventry on Tuesday, an emotional Cllr Ann Lucas broke down in tears as she paid tribute to those who had lost their lives, and helped in the fight against the virus.

She said: “In just a few days it will be exactly a year since the start of the first lockdown.

“It has been a year of loss, of hardship, of struggles and challenges, but it has also been a year that has shown such selflessness, heroism and sacrifice.

“The fight against Covid has affected us all in all sorts of ways. Sadly many in our city have lost their lives to Covid.

“We at the council have lost colleagues, good friends who we said goodbye to last March with no idea of what lay ahead. Every business, organisation and community will be mourning similar losses.

“Latest figures show our city has lost 608 people through deaths due to, and involving, Covid. Each and every life lost is a tragedy and together it is a staggering loss to comprehend and even harder to bear.

“But we must remember how our wonderful city has united over the past 12 months to fight Covid and the bravery that has been shown by so many.

“Our health and care workers and the frontline heroes have shown incredible courage and compassion. They have risked their own lives to save others.

“Today we can look ahead to happier and healthier times and this is thanks to them and the people of our city, and the way they have followed the guidelines and made their own small sacrifices, like missing those hugs with children and grandchildren.

“The fight is not yet over and we must all continue with those sacrifices a little longer, but with the spirit shown over the last months we will get there soon.

“We will be together as a city once more. When we do, we will pay proper tribute to those we have lost.”

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