Charity sets up Wall of Reflection where people can remember loved ones

A 10-foot long Wall of Reflection, where people can write and share memories of loved ones who have died, has been set up on London’s South Bank.

The London Wall of Reflection, set up by end of life charity Marie Curie, has been unveiled ahead of the third anniversary of the first coronavirus lockdown on Thursday.

Ballroom dancers Curtis and AJ Pritchard, who lost their 93-year-old grandmother Angela in November 2020, were among the first to visit and write on it.

They appeared alongside Marie Curie nurse Beth Namara and podcaster Dan Hudson, whose mother the charity helped before she passed away at its West Midlands hospice last year.

The large yellow wall, which is covered in hundreds of daffodils, is one of hundreds set up across the UK in the run-up to the National Day of Reflection 2023, which has been organised by the charity, on Thursday.

It says the walls aim to help people come together to remember those who have died, support those who are grieving and connect with each other.

The wall, at Observation Point on the South Bank, is covered with real flowers and has daffodil-shaped spaces where people can write and share stories of loss and grief.

It will be open from 8am to 7pm on Thursday.

National Day of Reflection
The Wall of Reflection, set up by charity Marie Curie, on London’s South Bank (Matt Alexander/PA)

The charity said new research reveals almost half (49%) of Britons feel the recent death of the late Queen and other leading figures including Dame Vivienne Westwood has helped them open up to their family about grief and loss.

Almost seven out of 10 Britons (69%) consider national moments for mass reflection important, the research also found.

AJ Pritchard said: “We lost our wonderful Nana in the middle of the pandemic and, as with all grief, have been processing it ever since.

“Marie Curie’s National Day of Reflection gives us a way to keep her memory alive, and a moment to reflect on the cherished memories we shared together.

“The London Wall of Reflection is such an important opportunity for the public to do the same and connect with each other in remembrance.”

National Day of Reflection
Marie Curie nurse Beth Namara at the Wall of Reflection on London’s South Bank (Matt Alexander/PA)

Curtis Pritchard said: “Grief doesn’t end, it’s ongoing, and being able to share your feelings with a network of people going through similar things can really relieve some of the burden.

“It’s been a privilege to visit the London Wall of Reflection, and an invaluable chance to come together with others to reflect on our losses with each other’s support – it’s really worth coming down, and we’re urging everyone who can to visit.”

Marie Curie chief executive Matthew Reed said: “The National Day of Reflection gives the nation the opportunity to unite in grief and share their experiences with others who have suffered similar losses.

“This year, we chose to set up the London Wall of Reflection as a public reminder of the importance of remembrance and coming together.”

The charity launched the National Day of Reflection in 2021 to remember those who died during the pandemic and support people who were unable to grieve in the normal way, such as by saying a final goodbye to a loved one or attending funerals, during lockdown.

More than 850 organisations took part last year with a number of public figures supporting it, including the King.