Denise Lynham, one of our Rehabilitation Support Workers, has bravely spoken out about surviving Covid-19 but tragically losing her husband to the virus.
Her story is part of a new powerful campaign of short films that portray the real-life experiences of people suffering the effects of coronavirus in Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG).
The campaign, called Covid Stories, features a number of people talking about what happened this year, including two who sadly lost loved ones to coronavirus, two care home workers, an IT worker who was hospitalised and survived, and a woman isolating from her own school-aged son due to coronavirus.
Denise, who works in North Somerset for Sirona, lost her husband Steve to coronavirus in May and says:
“I didn’t get a chance to have a proper goodbye, Steve had no dignity at the end of his life and we’ve been left with a gaping hole in our family.
“I want to share our story and support this campaign because I think people need to be reminded that this virus is real, anyone can get it and it’s so important that we continue to do our best and follow the rules, especially over Christmas and for as long as we need to because it’s a lot easier than losing a loved one and going through what my family have this year.”
The purpose of the campaign is to remind local people of the continued impact of coronavirus being felt right across the community, and that following Government guidelines during the festive period is the best way to protect loved ones. Bristol, North Somerset, and South Gloucestershire are all currently in Tier 3.
The series of short films were assembled, according to strict coronavirus safety rules, by the Healthier Together partnership which represents ten organisations across BNSSG committed to working together on improving health and care. Some of the films were shot by a professional cameraman while others were recorded selfie-style or online using video conferencing.
The films and their messages will be promoted to hundreds of thousands of local people in local authority newsletters, through local media, email, and online including health and care websites and social media channels.
Cllr Mike Bell, Deputy Leader of North Somerset Council and portfolio holder for health says:
“Much of the media coverage during the pandemic has focused on the numbers of people being affected by the disease. As a partnership we want to highlight the human impact within our local communities. For anyone who thinks the disease isn’t serious, or they won’t be affected, I’d urge them to watch the films. They tell the stories of people in our area – our friends and neighbours – and the devastating impact the disease has had on their lives.
“With Christmas on the horizon we cannot afford to let our guard down. We must all keep doing everything we can to reduce the spread of the virus. We are all at risk of catching the virus and we are all at risk of passing it on to a vulnerable person. But we can all give the gift of health this year by acting responsibly and playing our part.”
“On behalf of the Healthier Together partnership I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the health and care workers who have worked tirelessly and relentlessly this year to care for and protect our vulnerable community members. This year has been quite unlike any other, and I hope we can all look forward to better times in 2021.”
Imogen Poulter is a care home worker in Weston-super-Mare who witnessed first-hand the impact on staff and residents. Imogen says:
“I think it’s really important that people realise actually how bad you can be affected by covid and I think that taking more precautions out in the community and not going out if you don’t have to, and things like that, it will help and it won’t just help you, it helps other people.”
All the films will be available to watch on the Healthier Together website.