As we are hopefully coming out the other side of this global pandemic, it’s worth remembering we are all living through a new big historical event. We’ve said this many times before, we’ll be telling our children’s children about it, it’ll be written about in history books, and we’ll be swapping our shared experiences for many years to come.

But what exactly will we remember years from now?

The tragedy this pandemic has caused, the bickering between governments as they try to agree on the best course of action. Maybe it’ll be the lines of people queuing for toilet tolls, the empty streets as the world effectively shut down, and so many events which have touched us all.

The reality is, we may not actually remember very much, because we never do with things like this, that’s simply not how our memory works.

Healthcare workers will remember this pandemic differently to the rest of us. They have witnessed the toll it’s taken on human life, and indeed that could leave some workers with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

For those of us who have dealt with self-isolation, home-schooling, or indeed working from home, we may feel we have a conscious grip on every moment and event, memory experts tell us however, that will not be the case. Over a very short period of time, a lot of what we’re living through right now, will simply slip away.

Aware of this, and with a bit of inspiration from Shakespeare’s “and so shines a good deed in a weary world”, author ANNA JAMES has produced a commemorative book celebrating the hard work and kindness seen across the UK during the Covid pandemic.

Anna spent more than 6 months interviewing key workers, everyday heroes and familiar faces as well as charities and organisations and collating the stories and photos of their ‘good deeds’. She has self-published the 350+ page coffee-table style book to celebrate their efforts and to raise money for the NHS and other good causes.

Amongst many others, the book includes contributions from NHS workers, dustbin men, cleaners and farmers; home-schooling families, isolating couples and Covid survivors; Her Majesty the Queen, Captain Tom, Ian Broudie, Banksy and Charlie Mackesy; Fareshare, Samaritans, NSPCC and Age UK; M&S, The Royal Mint, Chester Zoo and even a loo roll manufacturer.

The book also features hundreds of photos of some of the things we’ve all been seeing and experiencing over the past 12 months.
Anna told us…….

“I desperately wanted to do something to help but didn’t know how to be useful – I’m a bit squeamish with anything medical and always get lost, even with satnav, so I’d have been no good at volunteering to help people or deliver things. After a few sleepless nights, I decided to stick with what I’m good at and to create a special compilation of this most unusual moment in our history. I would make one of my commemorative books as my small gift to the national effort.

“2020 was an unprecedented year with monumental challenges and heart-breaking sadnesses but amongst that, there was also exceptional hard work, adaptability and kindness. Our humanity and community spirit shone in the darkness and I thought it was important to celebrate that, so we’ve got something to look back on and be proud of.”

Anna James and her new book COVID Kindness (Pic: Jason Bryant)

“I also thought it was important to record some of the things we were all seeing and experiencing – in years to come, when this is hopefully far behind us, will we remember the rainbows? That people joined forces in their thousands to make masks and scrubs for the NHS? Will we remember that we clapped outside, every Thursday night? That whole towns and cities were deserted and that shops ran out of toilet roll? I wanted to document some of that to help us remember; as a social history record for us to show our grandchildren, and for them to show theirs.

“I am humbled to have become the caretaker of this most amazing collection of stories from all these everyday heroes who share what they did to help the country and each other, which are heart-warming and heart-wrenching in equal measures.“It’s probably the book none of us would ever have wanted but perhaps the one we all need, to remind ourselves what a kind and generous bunch we can be.

Anna is a corporate storyteller, providing communications support to organisations and specialising in producing commemorative books to help them celebrate their stories. She lives in Somerset with her stonemason husband, Andrew, and a very spoilt cockapoo called Leonard.

As we approach a year since the UK went into its first lockdown, Covid Kindness UK: 2020 will help us remember and reflect on the past 12 months. Anna gave all her time free of charge with all profits go to NHS Charities Together and other good causes.

We put a Zoom call into Anna to chat about the book and remember some of the key moments of the last 12 months which changed our world. We start by finding out more about her ‘business’ Jackanory Communications.

Anna’s book COVID KINDNESS UK: 2020 is available now, and really is one of those you will read, keep and pass down the generations. To get your copy, click on the image below. Just a reminder that all profits go to NHS Charities Together and other good causes.

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