THE NAMES of the 500 people who died of Covid-19 in Brighton and Hove were read out at a service of compassion.

Tributes were paid to those who died throughout the pandemic at the inter-faith event at Brighton Dome on Sunday, October 17.

The city’s political leaders led the tributes, along with locals including bus driver Nathalie Wahlen, funeral director Tora Colwill and poet Grace Nichols.

Students from Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College read the names of those who had died from Covid-19 to a backdrop of Bach’s The Art of Fugue, which was played by the Florentine String Quartet.

Mayor of Brighton and Hove Alan Robins recalled how he had lost his sister Mary to Covid in August this year.

The Argus: Mayor of Brighton and Hove Alan Robins Mayor of Brighton and Hove Alan Robins

He said: “She spent the last three weeks of her time on earth in an oxygen hood in a vain attempt to save her life. We all loved her so much.

“To all of you who have lost someone, I know and share your grief and pain. And I hope and pray we can all find peace.

“Let’s face it, compassion, whether it’s called love, loving kindness, humanity, self-giving or some other name, it’s something that we all need.

“A world with compassion is a better place for all of us."

The Vice Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex Sara Stoner also spoke of the “hope and kindness” that had sprung from the community during and after lockdown.

Hove MP Peter Kyle, Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas and Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle also gave readings.

Short films played to the audience featured the family of John Goddard, who died of Covid on Christmas Day, as well as school children giving their thoughts about the pandemic.

Brighton-based choir Soul of the City, six-woman band The Cheer Up Mollys and Kora musician Jali Burama Mbye also lifted spirits with musical interludes.

The event, organised by the Interfaith Contact Group, also featured community groups who had supported the community throughout the pandemic.

These included Together Co (loneliness and befriending), Off the Fence: resisting poverty, empowering people and the Umeus Foundation, which supports women facing anxiety and trauma.

A Covid Memorial Quilt was also on display, along with an art installation of origami cranes.