A COMMEMORATION is set to be held to pay respects to people who have died during the coronavirus pandemic.

Only limited people can attend funerals as social distancing has been introduced to contain the disease.

Funeral director Melanie Hunnaball and Colchester High Steward Sir Bob Russell are preparing a commemoration for when the national shutdown is lifted.

They say it will be an opportunity for a memorial gathering for those who could not hold funerals as they would have wished for loved ones.

It will also provide a chance to pay tribute to all those who worked in the emergency services and in many other occupations.

The idea came from Mrs Hunnaball and over the past week she and Sir Bob have drawn together an outline of what they envisage.

They hope the commemoration can take place later in the summer and possibly at Charter Hall in Colchester.

Mrs Hunnaball said: “As a family and a business we are seeing first-hand the impact of what is happening.

“As we always have, we are looking at ways we can help later on in the grief journey.

“The now is what we’re dealing with on a daily basis and doing the best we can to support families in this critical time.

“But going forward, I am sure our proposed event will be a great comfort in the later stages of bereavement.

“We have seen this repeated over the many years we have organised our Light a Candle services ahead of each Christmas so we know the proposed Colchester Commemoration will bring comfort to those who have lost loved ones during this time, particularly since they could not have the funeral they would have wished because of the coronavirus restrictions.”

Sir Bob added: “We are planning for the proposed commemoration to take place when the current restrictions on people attending events have been lifted.

“Our intention is that, with the support of the council and involvement of the Bishop of Colchester and others, the community can come together to provide a collective commemoration of respect and appreciation to those for whom a proper funeral was denied, not just those who died from coronavirus."

Colchester Military Wives Choir and Boxted Methodist Silver Band have accepted informal invitations to take part.