PEOPLE who have lost loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic will be able to go to York Minster next Monday and light a candle in their memory, pray or just sit in the space and reflect.

The cathedral is organising a special ‘Day to Remember’ people who have died during 2020 as part of its season of remembrance.

Canon Michael Smith, Canon Pastor at the Minster, said people coping with bereavement this year had been ‘severely challenged’ by the constraints of the pandemic, and he hoped the Day to Remember would give them some comfort.

He said the death of a loved one – whenever it occurred – was one of life’s most difficult moments.

“In normal circumstances, we can comfort the dying, support each other in our grief and gather to share our memories and to say goodbye,” he said. "Sitting with the dying, funerals, memorial services and the social gatherings that often follow, help us to navigate a way through grief when someone dies.

“The coronavirus restrictions have made such activities impossible and any funerals that have taken place have been both small and short.

“Lockdown, social distancing and self-isolation prevented many people from being with their loved ones in their last days.

“Continuing limits on funerals and gatherings have made it all but impossible for individuals and communities to come together to remember and celebrate their dead. There is a great deal of unresolved grief as a result of these harrowing circumstances.

“We hope that this Day to Remember those who have died this year, on All Souls Day, will give some comfort to everyone who has recently faced the death of a loved one. We invite them to come to the cathedral, to pray, light a candle or just to sit quietly in the space, to remember and to reflect.

“We want them to leave knowing that they are not alone and that they are embraced in the love and care of God and the human family.”

A spokesperson said the Day to Remember will start at 10am and continue until 3.30pm, with a dedicated space provided for people to come, to remember, to pray and to light a candle.

“Prayers will be said on the hour and there will be a service of Holy Communion at midday,” they said.

“The Minster’s annual Requiem Eucharist for All Souls Day to remember loved ones who have died, will take place at 5.30pm. A special candle will be lit for all those who died so far during the pandemic.

“The candle will burn at major services throughout Advent and Christmas as a symbol for those who have died and who will be greatly missed through Advent and Christmas and beyond.”

They said the clergy team and staff from St Leonard’s Hospice would be present to provide pastoral care. There was no admission charge but pre-booked ticket slots would be needed to help safely manage numbers attending. To book go to