A SERVICE to honour the lives of almost 3,000 people who died in Greater Manchester with coronavirus has taken place.

Yesterday’s ceremony, held at Manchester Cathedral, was attended by around 30 people, including mayors from across the borough, the emergency services, and the high sheriff. 

Prayers were said to mark each of the 2,933 lives lost across Greater Manchester
Bishop of Manchester, the Right Rev David Walker, said: “We are here first to honour each of those lives.

“Each person whose life has ended through this disease was a precious child of God, a precious human individual, somebody’s son, daughter, husband, wife, friend, parent, grandparent.

“We mourn them and we honour them, particularly today because it hasn’t been possible in most cases for them to have the kind of funeral rites that we would have expected.

“Today is a small step to saying that their lives count, and that the loss of them matters to us.

The Bolton News:

“Whenever we gather to remember those who have died as a result of a particular event, we do so in part to avoid, as far as we can, a repetition of what has caused their death. 

“Part of what we’re doing today, at a time when coronavirus is still amok, we meet to pledge ourselves to stay safe, to do what we can to avoid the reccurance of outbreaks among our own communities and further deaths – we haven’t yet seen the last deaths of coronavirus in Greater Manchester.” 

The 30 minute service was live-streamed to the cathedral’s Facebook page, where a number of mourning families watched from their homes. 

A covid-19 memorial candle was lit during the interfaith ceremony.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham spoke at the service. 

He said: “As the world slowly reawakens into a new normal, it just would not feel right to move on, as people say, without taking this moment to pause, to reflect on what has happened these last few months and who we have lost, all of them.

READ MORE: Loved and lost: The 226 people who have died across borough after contracting coronavirus

“These were people who looked after us when we were growing up, people who taught us, who cleaned our streets, our hospitals, our offices, our churches, who drove our buses, trams and trains, who poured our pints, served our food and shared a joke as they did it.

“People who put out fires, kept our streets safe, but most of all people who dedicated themselves to the care of others and we think most of them today.”

An online book of remembrance to form a permanent tribute to those in the region who lost their lives to the virus was also launched.

The memorial, built by volunteers from agency Reason Digital, will allow people who have been bereaved to upload the name and personal details of their loved one, along with a picture and tribute.

Those who worked for the NHS and in social care will have a rainbow symbol added to their memory.

The book of remembrance can be found at gmremembers.org.uk.