'I am very proud of how the people of Chichester have stepped up during the pandemic'
The Mayor of Chichester has reflected on a 'challenging and difficult' year on the anniversary of the first lockdown.
Today (March 23) marks one year since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that everyone across the UK was to stay at home for the first time, as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the nation.
Click here to see what the data tells us about how Covid-19 has hit Chichester"I am very proud how the people of Chichester have stepped up during the pandemic," said mayor Richard Plowman.
"Throughout the pandemic we have had some of the lowest rates of infection in the UK here in Chichester and, of course, we have the excellent St Richard's hospital who have been brilliant.
"The most used word about the pandemic is that it is 'unprecedented' and that is almost true for being mayor during 2020. I say almost true as if you look at list of mayors on the boards in the council chamber, you can see that during the war years; the mayor remained in office.
"It does seem like we have been at war against an unknown and invisible enemy COVID-19."
Councillor Plowman said lockdown saw his official engagement diary 'wiped clean', adding: "I knew that the role of mayor would change significantly.
"I now understand why Mayors have been here in Chichester for over 880 years.
"The role is not about pomp and circumstance and self importance but about being a voice for the people, working closely with the community, using the role to influence those in authority for the good of the community.
"It has been a humbling yet rewarding time and I am really proud how the Chichester community stepped up in these really challenging and difficult times."
Mr Plowman's 'very strange and challenging' two-year stint as mayor comes to an end in May.
"I must admit it has taken its toll and I am ready for a rest," he said. "But it has been rewarding and a pleasure to bring our community safely through the worst of the pandemic."
At midday today, the mayor will observe a minute's silence at the Market Cross to mark the national day of reflection.
He said: "The city council has already been lighting up the cross and Council House every Thursday to acknowledge to front line workers, carers and the NHS and we shall now do that on Tuesday as well."
In a post on social media, Chichester District Council said people are invited to take part in the minute's silence at 12 noon and 'shine a light from their doorstep at 8pm to show their support'.