Caring pupils at Highfield Leadership Academy have marked one year since the UK’s first lockdown by sharing messages of hope.

The National Day of Reflection, held on March 23, was a chance for people across the UK to reflect on their collective loss, support those who have been bereaved and spread hope for a brighter future.

Pupils at the school sent cards filled with heartfelt messages to offer support to those who had experienced loss or faced trauma as a result of the pandemic.

In total 650 cards and 400 flower pictures were given to more than 30 care homes and 20 community groups including residents of care homes and sheltered accommodation, local charities, Blackpool’s emergency services staff and local residents suffering social isolation.

A special memorial garden at the school is to be filled with yellow peace pebbles, decorated with messages for the bereaved and yellow flowers in memory of those who died during the pandemic.

Pupils also fundraised for Marie Curie with a charity bike ride ‘Miles for Smiles’ that is taking place throughout March and April.

Andrew Galbraith, Principal at Highfield Leadership Academy, said that the National Day of Reflection had helped pupils to begin the healing process following a traumatic 12 months.

He said: “Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic and the periods of lockdown have had a negative impact on many young people’s wellbeing.

“Many are experiencing bereavement for the first time and, due to the restrictions, their experience of loss is unlike any ever experienced before.

“There are no big funerals or wakes, even the opportunity to go to a friend or relative’s house to seek support in person has not been possible.

“It is unimaginable to us as adults what young people’s first experience of loss has been like during a global pandemic.

“That is why it was so very important to us as a school to help our pupils join together and take comfort in our shared experience.

“Over the coming months, we will be working hard to support our pupils’ mental wellbeing and will be helping them to heal so that they are able to go on to achieve their best outcome.”