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Campaign for monthly silence for virus victims.

Byline: IAN JOHNSON Reporter

AN Ashington NHS worker is campaigning for a monthly minute's silence to honour coronavirus victims who can't have a "proper" funeral.

Warren Smyth works at Cramlington Hospital, while his wife Julie is a nurse at Wansbeck.

However, after suffering the loss of loved ones during the outbreak, the couple faced not being able to attend funeral services after the number of mourners were capped across the country.

So 57-year-old Warren is pushing for a minute of silence at noon from April 19 - picked due to Covid-19 - so those unable to attend funerals can remember friends and family lost during the epidemic.

"It first came to mind when one of my wife's colleagues died of a noncorona illness, but they couldn't host a proper full funeral because of the restrictions," said Warren, a catering assistant.

"His widow streamed it so everyone who wanted to be there could see it, but it wasn't the same, and I just think for those people there should be some way to show support to the families."

He's now ditched his New Year's resolution to quit social media, tweeting with the hashtag #Covid-19VictimsRemembrance to spread awareness of his campaign.

"My campaign is to show victims families and loved ones support and recognition," he said.

"Every death is a personal tragedy, naturally I would be devastated if it happened to one of my family and I couldn't attend or have a traditional funeral for them."

However his campaign comes after coronavirus claimed the life of a dear family friend.

On Monday, the couple's son was contacted by his best friend who lost his dad.

The man, who is understood to be in his 60s, died just 48 hours after he was rushed into hospital after his health deteriorated He, like the thousands who will die during the outbreak, will only be allowed a handful of mourners - such as immediate family members - who will be forced to observe social distancing guidelines.

According to Public Health England, mourners should avoid "direct face to face or physical contact, for example hugging each other unless they are part of the same household."

The curbs on funerals are one of the tactics being used to help control the spread of the disease, which has claimed over 11,000 British lives.

However, as Warren admits, it results in a funeral with barely anyone there, a grim set of circumstances "he wouldn't wish on anyone".

My campaign is to show victims families and loved ones support and recognition

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Author:IAN JOHNSON Reporter
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 15, 2020
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