The last two years

In the last two years all of us, whatever our age, culture, or class, have lived through the pandemic. For some, the worst has simply been home schooling and remote working. For many, many others, there has been illness, grief at the loss of loved ones, fear, and the relentless work of the frontline. Funeral directors, both we and our colleagues, have worked incredibly hard, given up holiday, supported grieving families, and transported the deceased who have suffered from Covid and had to be dealt with very carefully. It’s been stressful, to say the least, and at some points it has been a possibility that the numbers might overwhelm the system. But our colleagues and friends in the funeral industry have been utterly amazing. Their hard work and steadfastness have been an inspiration, and it has been our privilege to work together.

colchesters covid commemoration

A good idea

Before a National Day of Reflection was called, Melanie Hunnaball and Sir Bob Russell, Colchester’s High Steward, discussed the possibility of a special event for people of Colchester and the surrounding villages. They believed people needed a milestone to help them remember those who, during the pandemic, died, lost loved ones, or worked tirelessly, both as employees and volunteers, to support other people.

Their plan was for a special event, open to all, whatever their beliefs or culture, to remember, with the help of readings, music, and performance. They started to put things in place by speaking to members of Colchester Borough Council, venues, and performers.

National Day of Reflection

When it was announced that a National Day of Reflection was to take place on 23rd March 2022, a great many national and local institutions and charities were enthusiastic in their response. Not least Colchester Borough Council and the Mercury Theatre who, having had discussions with Melanie and Sir Bob, quickly adopted their idea of a Colchester wide event and ran with it.

Since then, Steve Mannix from the Mercury Theatre and Hayley McGrath, representing the Mayor of Colchester’s office at the Borough Council, together with BBC Essex and a number of others, including the Hunnaball Family Funeral Group, have worked together to create a very special event for the people of Colchester, to mark the National Day of Reflection.

The Mercury Theatre

On Saturday 26th March at 7:30pm, an evening of commemoration will take place at the Mercury Theatre. It will remember and celebrate the loves, lives, and losses of the last two years through music, readings, performance and more. Contributions will come from the bereaved, front-line workers, charities, faith groups, and other representatives to help us all remember. Tickets are available through the Mercury Theatre website. Our branches closest to Colchester also have some tickets, simply email us at if you would like some.

We are delighted to be able to sponsor and take part in this special event, and hope to see those of you who are able to secure tickets on the day. For those who are not able to be there in person, however, the event will also be livestreamed to homes, community and faith centres across Colchester and beyond, to allow people throughout the Borough to join in and reflect on the last two years together. We understand that more detailed information will be published very soon and we will post this here as soon as it is available.

The Hunnaball Family Funeral Group are very grateful to everyone who is getting involved in this special event. It promises to be a very significant and meaningful way for us all to remember the sadness, but also to give thanks for the way in which so many did so much to help us through the challenges. Finally, it’s our hope that this will be a point from which we can look , and move, forward together to a better future.