LEADERS and organisations across the county have marked one year since the beginning of the first national lockdown.

At midday today members of the public, health and care staff and politicians fell silent to mark the sombre occasion and reflect on a year of the Covid-19 pandemic.

At 8pm this evening people are being encouraged to stand on their doorsteps with phones, candles and torches to signify a "beacon of remembrance".

In Southampton, the Civic Centre clock tower will be illuminated in yellow to mark the day as the city joins with the nation in reflection.

A city council spokesperson said: "Today marks the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. As we reflect, we remember the 370 people from our community we have sadly lost and the sacrifices we have all made. We resolve to fight against COVID-19, to save lives and to support people through difficult times."

Eastleigh Borough Council took the opportunity today to pay respects to the "local heroes" of the community.

The Mayor of Eastleigh, Darshan Mann said: "We know that the last year has been a difficult one for everyone, which is why we wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the positive outcomes of the last twelve months."

As previously reported, both Fareham Borough Council and Hampshire County Council also took part in the minute's silence with residential and nursing homes holding a tea for residents and a range of activities, appropriate to each home.

At St Elmo's Care Home in Ringwood, staff sent cards inviting resident’s family members, past and present, to take time throughout the day to reflect as well as sending a packet of forget-me-nots to plant in memorandum.

Southampton Itchen MP, Royston Smith joined with fellow politicians in marking the occasion and told the Daily Echo that the last year has made him realise "how fragile" life can be.

He added: "It's a little bit like where you were when John F Kennedy was shot. Everyone can remember what the weather was like this time last year because they remember exactly what was happening. It's in our minds forever really."