What a year eh! Today marks 365 days since the UK was plunged into an unprecedented lockdown, but amongst the sadness, despair, and challenges, there’s been a lot of good to come from it too.
So, as we mark the National Day Of Remembrance today, we thought we’d look back at some of the most amazing things that have happened throughout the pandemic.
Here’s our top 10 picks:
We publicly showed our love for our NHS
As the pandemic started to rage within the population, we stood shoulder to shoulder with our NHS and its hero workers.
For 10 weeks, every Thursday, people from across the nation gathered at their doorsteps to clap, cheer and bang pots and pans to show their appreciation for the key workers on the front line.
We filled our windows with rainbows of hope and made them a symbol of our united support for the NHS, we made PPE in our living rooms for Doctors and front line health care workers and we donated our time to volunteer when more people were needed to fight the fight.
Not all heroes wear capes; Captain Sir Tom Moore
We couldn’t write about the amazing things that have happened during lockdown without a mention of this incredible gentleman.
Captain Sir Tom Moore literally inspired our nation and raised a whopping £38million (and counting) for our beloved NHS by walking 100 laps of his garden on the run-up to his 100th birthday.
His heroic endeavours earned him a knighthood and led him to record a No.1 hit single, You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Same sex marriages in Northern Ireland were leagalised
In January 2021, Northern Ireland finally made same-sex marriages legal and Belfast couple Robyn Edwards-Peoples and Sharni Edwards-Peoples became the first same-sex couple to legally marry in February 2021. N’awww.
And if that wasn’t enough, Pope Francis also publicly endorsed same-sex civil unions stating that God loves LGBTQ+ children.
Marcus Rashford led the campaign to feed disadvantaged children
Marcus is undeniably another hero of the pandemic; forcing government U turns with his campaigning to ensure that no child went hungry throughout the school holidays.
His campaigning was also the driving force behind a wave of communities across the country pledging and delivering food packages to families in need during school holidays.
He was, quite rightly, awarded an MBE for his efforts in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Mother Earth began to heal
Global carbon emissions from fossil fuels fell by an unprecedented amount in 2020 as a result of world-wide lockdowns.
The UK saw one of the biggest drops in emissions at 13%.
Worldwide, carbon emissions fell by a record 2.4 billion tonnes, that’s a whopping 7% on 2019 levels.
The environment also benefited from the changes in other ways too. In Italy, Venice’s canals became clearer and cleaner and in the Bay of Bengal, sea turtles started laying eggs on beaches they once avoided due to crowds of people.
We had important conversations
Lockdown taught us a lot, but not least that we must continue to learn lessons about the impact of institutional racism.
The Black Lives Matter movement was a landmark moment in history that has helped spark conversations about inclusivity, diversity and above all, how to be actively antiracist.
Africa was declared free of wild polio
There hasn’t been one single reported case of wild polio in Africa in four years thanks to the incredible work of vaccines as well as the organisations who’ve worked tirelessly to administer them throughout the continent.
Nigeria was the last African country to be declared virus free, after accounting for more than 50% of all global cases a decade ago.
A group of gorillas on the brink of extinction were photographed carrying babies
For the first time in history a group of the world’s rarest great ape were snapped carrying babies. As well as making an incredibly cute photo, it’s welcome news for nature lovers and campaigners as the animals are currently classed as critically endangered.
Life-saving vaccines were developed in record time
This time last year, the world was helplessly bracing itself as COVID-19 swept across continents and scientists warned that help wasn’t coming in the form of any known vaccine or medication. Fast forward 12 months and not only do we have a range of highly effective vaccines, but the UK is leading the pack in terms of getting them into arms.
We explored space more than we ever had before
Life on our planet left a lot to be desired, but things were looking up in outer space with the launch of NASA’s most advanced rover yet to Mard, landing a spacecraft on an asteroid and, for the first time since the Space Shuttle retired in 2011, a SpaceX rocket sent astronauts to the International Space Station.
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