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Bishop of Norwich gives special blessing to temporary coronavirus mortuary

PUBLISHED: 20:07 16 April 2020 | UPDATED: 20:07 16 April 2020

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham Usher. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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Norfolk’s temporary mortuary for coronavirus victims has received a special blessing from the Bishop of Norwich.

Scottow Enterprise Park at the former RAF Coltishall air base.   Picture: MARK BULLIMOREScottow Enterprise Park at the former RAF Coltishall air base. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

It was set up by Norfolk County Council on behalf of the Norfolk Resilience Forum and is in a former aircraft hangar on the ex-RAF Coltishall site, now known as Scottow Enterprise Park.

In a special address from his home, the Rt Rev Graham Usher made his prayer of dedication for the mortuary as well as thanking people who set it up.

Bishop Graham said: “The tragic reality of the Covid-19 pandemic is that people are dying in increasing numbers. The county council has made contingency plans for a temporary mortuary where the deceased of all faiths and none can rest peacefully and be looked after with care and dignity.

“Chaplains will also be available to support bereaved families. I am enormously grateful to all who have worked so hard to build this facility and those who will be staffing it. In this week after Easter, my earnest prayer is that this facility will not be needed, but, if it is, that the light, hope and peace of the Risen Christ will be felt there.”

The mortuary was set up in response to health and scientific advice that coronavirus will lead to an increase in the number of people dying in the coming weeks before cases begin to fall.

MORE: Coronavirus lockdown to continue to prevent second peak of infections

The Norfolk Resilience Forum wants to ensure that all of those who die are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve and created the temporary centre to ease pressures on hospitals.

Scottow Enterprise Park was chosen because it is a safe and secure location and away from public view with enough space for specialist portable buildings to be housed undercover.

The mortuary will be staffed, with security in place at all times when it is closed, all public health advice on how to safely look after patients who have died will be followed and there is no health risk to nearby residents.

Andrew Proctor, county council leader, said: “We are grateful to Bishop Graham for his service of dedication, which I hope will bring some comfort to those who sadly lose a loved one in this most difficult of times. We want all those who lose their lives to this dreadful disease to receive the respect and dignity they deserve.”

Anyone with questions can email mpcg@norfolk.gov.uk or call 0344 8008020.

For the latest COVID-19 news, visit the Norfolk Coronavirus Updates Facebook page.

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