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Editorial chief opens up on coronavirus lockdown funeral experience

Mark ThompsonAn editorial chief has shared his experience of attending a coronavirus lockdown funeral after his grandmother’s death from the disease.

Mark Thompson, interim editorial director for JPIMedia in the North-East of England,  has described the limited farewell conducted under social distancing rules, with only 10 mourners present.

Mark, pictured, said he wanted to give people an insight into the impact the virus has on the grieving process.

He also aimed to reinforce the point of social distancing so fewer people have to go through the same experience.

He wrote in the Sunderland Echo: “Thankfully, we were still allowed to carry the coffin and carefully place my grandma at her final resting place.

“As is now the norm, I quickly squirted alcohol gel into my palms as we listened to prayers, had a few smiles at great memories shared and tried our best to sing her favourite hymn.

“At the end we stood near the funeral flowers for a while before saying goodbye and slowly drifting back to the cars that would take us back into lockdown.

“There’d be no raising a glass together, laughing at family jokes or bumping into people we hadn’t seen for years at the bar. The celebration of her life will have to wait for another day but it will most certainly happen.”

Mark’s full piece can be read in full here.

Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds has urged people to subscribe to her local newspaper to help it through the pandemic.

The Labour MP has lent her support to the Oxford Mail, calling on constituents to take out a digital or home delivery subscription.

Posting on Twitter, the Oxford East MP said: “The Oxford Mail is doing a great job of getting essential local information, advice and stories out to Oxford people.

“If we don’t use it- we’ll lose it! So please spread the word about taking up a subscription, and home delivery.”

Regional titles including the Somerset County Gazette and JPIMedia’s Sussex weeklies have launched video appeals highlighting the importance of their journalism to readers.

In their video, the Sussex reporters said: While more people are reading our stories than ever before, our advertisers are understandably struggling. Which means we’re struggling too.

“We know not everyone will appreciate the work we do. Plenty of people think they don’t need the news because they have social media, but social media doesn’t check the facts. We do.

“As you can probably guess, we’re not normally broadcasters. But we’re making this video because it is urgent.

“It’s so important that we’re able to carry on doing what we do. In a lot of places, if we disappear there’s nothing else.”

Posting on Twitter, County Gazette editor Paul Jones said: “I got a bit emotional today (I think it’s the weeks coming into the office alone, putting these newspapers together) and the nature of what we do got to me a bit. So I made this.”

You can read all our coronavirus-related stories here.