Feature: Looking back at 12 months under lockdown in Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth

It has been 12 months from this day (March 23) last year that the UK was put into its first state of national lockdown by the Government due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 10:12 pm

These remain unprecedented times but our reporters at the Courier and Weekly News have seen, heard and reported on much change in the way we live, the way businesses are operating and, sadly, the people who have suffered due to Covid-19.

We are looking back over the months since March 2020 and at the stories we published.

Leamington town centre 're-opening' last summer before further lockdown measures were brought back towards the end of 2020.

Once people and communities got their heads around the situation many were quick to mobilise and take action to ensure the most vulnerable would be cared and provided for while people were being asked to stay their homes as much as possible.

While we clapped for the heroes of the NHS, volunteers were doing some great work in our towns and villages, delivering food and prescriptions to those in need.

The run of good weather from March meant taking our daily exercise and getting out into the garden for some much-needed fresh air was pleasant and there was very much a 'Dunkirk spirit' on display as people, such as the aforementioned support group members tried their hardest to make sure as many people as possible were safe and well.

But the toll Covid-19 was taking on us and the fear of the virus was also starting to show.

Bernard Kirton

At the time his daughter, Fiona, warned of how quickly coronavirus could strike.

Another to lose a loved one to Covid-19 in April was former Warwickshire policeman Simon Rogers.

Harold Rogers, who died of Coronavirus in April 2020 and is wife Jean, who survived after having the virus too. Their son Simon, a former Warwickshire policeman, shared the story of the family's harrowing experience in order to try to encourage people to 'stay at home, stay safe and protect the NHS'.

Both had been taken ill and were at Warwick Hospital.

Simon gave a harrowing account of how he was unable to visit Harold in his final hours and how he was later handed a bag of his father's belongings at the door of the ward.

Restrictions for funeral services at the time meant that Simon could only book a 30-minute slot for his father.

Thankfully, Jean survived but was unable to see any of her family during the nine days she was at the hospital.

Covid-19 Support Kenilworth

Employees at AGA Rangemaster in the town had expressed the same concerns for their safety in the month before.

Our town centres have been much less busy in the last 12 months with 'non-essential' shops and businesses being closed for much of the time.

The Parade in Leamington has been pedestrianised since June last year when there were hopes of a 'bounce back' for the retail and leisure industry before strict lockdown measures and the tier system was brought in towards the end of 2020.

Ricardo in Leamington

Businesses in the hair and beauty industry have been hit hard by the lockdown.

In November Claire Burns-Jackson, the owner of Pelo in Warwick Gates, said she felt as if she and others were being penalised over support during the Covid-19 pandemic because they are in a female-dominated industry.The leisure and tourism industry has also struggled.

We featured The Angel Hotel in Leamington when it re-opened with new Covid-safe measures for a short time from July.

Charities have suffered from having to cancel some of their major fundraising events in the past 12 months but this has not stopped many of you from still showing your support for good causes.

With an emphasis on people getting out of their houses and exercising many took part in fundraising challenges for various challenges.

There are still months of living under restrictions ahead for us but Boris Johnson has now announced a road-map for the country which hopefully, means the country and our towns and villages, will be out of lockdown once and for all.

Today (Tuesday March 23) a minute's silence and a national doorstep vigil will form part of a day of reflection to mark the anniversary of the UK's first Covid lockdown.

Warwick District Council chairman Cllr Martyn Ashford has reflected on the last 12 months for the area under lockdown.

For information, advice, support and guidance on Coronavirus in Warwick District, visit www.warwickdc.gov.uk/coronavirus

Shire Foods in Leamington.
The Parade in Leamington town centre on the first morning of the second national lockdown of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the the places in and around Warwick which took part in the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. Eat Out to Help Out logo by HM Government.
Claire Burns-Jackson in her PPE gear at her salon, Pelo, in Warwick Gates.
The Angel Hotel in Leamington.
Warwick Castle.
Darren Laffey taking part in his 5ks of Christmas fundraising challenge during lockdown.