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Mourners share stories and anger after PM's 'bodies pile high' quote

People who have lost loved ones to Covid shared pictures, stories and anger after the Prime Minister was reported to have said he would 'let the bodies pile high' in November

Boris Johnson looks serious at a table in Downing Street

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under fire over comments reportedly made in an argument over lockdown measures. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

Scores of mourners have shared stories of their loved ones lost to Covid-19 and anger at Prime Minister Boris Johnson after he was reported to have said he would rather “let the bodies pile high in their thousands” than enter another national lockdown last November.

The comments, which have drawn widespread condemnation, were first reported by the Daily Mail before Downing Street insiders repeated the claim to reporters at the BBC and ITV. Johnson has reportedly called the quote “total rubbish”.

The Conservative government eased protective measures in December before the deadly third wave at the start of 2021, when more than 1,000 people died from Covid every day.

More than 80,000 people in the UK have died from Covid since November, and nearly 130,000 since the pandemic began, one of the worst death tolls in the world.

Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, a grassroots organisation supporting families, called on mourners to share pictures and stories of people they have lost on Twitter.

“Our loved ones were not bodies to be piled up in hospitals,” read a post from the official account. “They were those that meant the most to us in the world.

“Help us show this to @BorisJohnson by putting a picture of your lost loved one and telling us who they were below.”

Mourners responded in their scores.

“My gorgeous man was not a body to be ‘piled high’,” wrote Fran Hall, chief executive of the Good Funeral Guide. “Steve and I married in September last year. 21 days after our wedding he was dead from covid.”

Charlie Williams, one of the people behind Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, wrote: “My father was not a body or part of a pile he was a man!

“A grandfather part of the Windrush generation who worked here all his life till it was cut short after untested patients were sent into his care home like thousands more.”

“My dad was not a body, his name was Tony Clay and he was everything to me and my family,” wrote Kathryn de Prudhoe, a spokesperson for the organisation.

“My Dad was not just a “body” – he was a loving father, husband brother, and mentor to all,” wrote Ajay Rayit. “He came to this country at the age of 10 knowing no English, and worked incredibly hard to give his family a good life. We are grieving his unexpected loss at the mere age of 58.”

https://twitter.com/ajayrayit/status/1386774757580984323

“This is my mum, Thelma Sparkes,” wrote nurse Debbie Wickens. “She was not a number or a body to be piled high. She was a fiercely intelligent, kind, empathic, curious, adventurous woman.

“An NHS worker, a mum, grandmother; friends across the world and across generations. She & so many others deserved better.”

Saira Ibrahim wrote: “Here is my beautiful father Mohommed Ibrahim who was knowledgeable, wise, loving and caring.

“He died a painful and gruelling death and faced it with such dignity, all alone. Allah In Shaa Allah will bless him and has indeed granted us left behind with patience and gratitude.”

My nephew was not a body,” wrote Andy Stephens. “Loved to cycle, travel and a cheeky drink. Kind and never wanted to worry anyone.”

“Julie on the right was the kindest most careing beautiful unique person I have ever met,” wrote Jayne Taylor-Broadbent. “We loved each other. it took us a lifetime to find each other and 1 uncontrolled virus to take her away from me WHY?”

My Mum was not ‘a body in the pile’,” wrote Gina Thomasson. “She was beautiful, kind hearted and loved her family with her whole soul.

“She was the most honest person I ever knew and she was totally adored by her family. Her grandchildren were her pride & joy. The gap in our lives shall never be filled.”

If you or someone you know has lost someone or is mourning, information about grief counselling and support is available through the NHS.

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