Set to Ed Sheeran’s song Supermarket Flowers, about his late grandmother, it asks people to “take a moment to reflect and a moment to connect” on March 23, the National Day of Reflection. Ed, 30, donated the number to help the event – spearheaded by charity Marie Curie and backed by the Daily Express – remember those lost during the past year and support those grieving.
Possessions shown in the emotive advert include a teddy bear, ballet shoes and a mug with the word “Dad”.
As part of the day, people are being asked to join a minute’s silence at noon on March 23 and stand on their doorsteps at 8pm, shining a light in remembrance.
More than 100 organisations are supporting the campaign, as are celebrities including Dame Judi Dench, Paul Chuckle and Jason Isaacs.
Carol Telfer, 61, a chaplain at Marie Curie’s Glasgow hospice, provided a photo of her father Jim’s empty armchair for the advert.
Jim, 89, of Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, was diagnosed with dementia last year and died with Covid on January 18 following a short illness.
The last time Jim’s family saw him was through a window at his care home two weeks earlier.
Carol said: “I wanted to be part of this campaign to show all across the UK who are grieving that they’re not alone.
“What we’ve all been through is significant, and whether you’ve lost someone personally or not, we all need to be doing something to remember these people and help the people who have been bereaved to process their grief.”
Carol added: “The hardest thing I had to do with my step-mum was ask her to take that photograph.
“She told me she’d cried buckets doing it. She said it was the most difficult photograph she’d ever taken in her life, but she did it for me and because it’s an important cause.
“It was then, when I got the photo, that the significance of that empty space really hit me.” Marie Curie’s chief executive, Matthew Reed, said: “Possessions can be powerful reminders of the people we have loved and lost, as well as help us in our grieving process.
“They can come to symbolise them after they’re gone and can keep their memory alive and that’s something to cherish right now.
“We need to take a moment to mark the huge amount of loss we’ve seen in the past 12 months and show support for everyone who has been bereaved, be that from Covid or any other cause.
“Many people are in shock, confused, upset, angry and unable to process what has happened. But there is an overwhelming need to come together, to remember, to grieve, to celebrate.”
● To find out more, visit: mariecurie.org.uk/dayofreflection