Coronavirus: Manchester Cathedral service remembers victims

Manchester Cathedral service
Image caption The socially-distanced service was led by the Dean of Manchester Cathedral Rogers Govender

A memorial service has paid tribute to victims of coronavirus in Greater Manchester.

The Manchester Cathedral service was held with a maximum of 70 people attending to allow social distancing, and was also streamed online.

Dean Rogers Govender said it was a chance to "honour" victims of the virus when traditional funerals had not recently been possible.

An online book of remembrance has also been opened.

As well as people sitting 2m apart, the interfaith service featured no choir or singing, in line with current guidelines.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption A member of the congregation sanitises his hands before the ceremony began

There have been more than 290,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and more than 45,000 people have died, government figures show.

In Greater Manchester 2,933 people have died, according to available data up to 3 July.

Addressing the small congregation, the Very Reverend Rogers Govender said: "We are a grieving world, a grieving city.

"We hope this will make a difference to you spiritually, emotionally and otherwise. Your loved one is a precious human being, whose life is cherished."

Image caption Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham spoke at the service

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said each person who had fallen victim to the virus should be remembered as "a person and not just a statistic".

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

"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."

He also paid particular tribute to healthcare staff and other key workers "still serving people at the height of the pandemic".

"We have all seen the world through new eyes during this time, and we can all pray together today and use the insights we've gained from this time to make the world a better place," he said.

"Where we value each other more, and think more about what we can give, rather than what we can take."

He added: "This is of course all for tomorrow. For today, Greater Manchester remembers, gives thanks for the lives we have lost, and pledges to build on the foundations they have left."

Bishop of Manchester the Right Rev David Walker said every victim was "a precious human individual, somebody's son, daughter, husband, wife, friend, parent, grandparent".

He added: "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."

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