NEXT week marks one year since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the UK was being put into lockdown due to the spread of coronavirus.

To mark the first anniversary on Tuesday (March 23), a "national day of reflection" has been organised with a minute's silence scheduled at midday.

It has been a hugely difficult and painful 12 months for so many, but the pandemic has also provided us with some inspiring and heartwarming stories.

Here The Standard recaps some of the generous, kind-hearted and, often, hilarious lengths our communities went to as they rallied together at the start of the crisis:

STAFF at the Countess of Chester Hospital praised the "generosity and kindness" shown by a number of businesses and organisations who took the time to show hospital staff how much their efforts are valued by donating tasty treats and morale-boosting cards and messages of support.

Chief executive, Dr Susan Gilby, said: "It is heartening to know that people want to help and support our wonderful NHS in such testing times."

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IT'S not every day you see a cross-dressing Roman soldier singing along to Freddie Mercury while vacuuming their front room.

But then these were unprecedented times.

To keep active, Chester resident Robert Foulkes (below) created this video that had the added benefit of raising a few smiles during the coronavirus crisis.

The 40-year-old, who works for the Deva Roman Experience in Chester, explained: "I think it could be a great way for people to keep their minds off things a little."

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RESIDENTS in Blacon proved that community spirit was alive and well by rallying together to help the elderly and vulnerable.

A Facebook group – Support for our vulnerable in Blacon – was set up and joined by hundreds of people, with those most in need receiving vital food donations and supplies.

The community has even worked together to provide a temporary repair on a damaged TV aerial at the Nant Peris high rise flats.

The group was set up by agency support worker and carer Kim Bates – with support from friends Ashlie Chadwick and Steven Knox – who coordinated the response while juggling 14-hour shifts.

She said: "I'm very proud of the Blacon community – we always look out for each other."

ONE of the city's leading musical directors and composers treated his neighbour to an impromptu street concert featuring Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody on his accordion.

Matt Baker initially took to his doorstep for a small game of 'name that tune' but soon lifted the spirits of the whole street and beyond.

The Garden Quarter was filled with Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody - but with Matt's accordion standing in for Brian May's electric guitar.

He said: "We're no strangers to community get-togethers in the Garden Quarter with lots of street parties and community events, so this felt like the natural thing to do with everyone outside their front doors or at their windows."

A CHESTER resident was praised for putting a smile on children's faces during lockdown – by dressing up as a different character for his daily dog walk.

People living in the Lache area had been howling with laughter from their house windows and doorsteps as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Mr Blobby were all spotted walking the streets.

Resident Anya Marie contacted us to hail "unsung hero" Stuart Vincent for using his one walk of the day to bring the community some joy during the crisis.

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SINGER Sheila Callaghan took to a street in Chester to belt out some wartime favourites to help lift spirits and entertain her neighbours.

Using a microphone and a mobile speaker, the Upton resident walked up and down Sutton Drive, singing timeless classics courtesy of Gracie Fields and Vera Lynn.

Residents young and old flocked to their driveways and windows to join in with the sing song and help lift the mood during the pandemic.

TWO Chester schoolgirls went the extra mile to thank local NHS heroes battling Covid-19.

Sisters Matilda and Edith Davies, who attend Guilden Sutton Primary School and Bishops’ Blue Coat High School respectively, created a heart-warming animated video and helped to make a sign located near the Countess of Chester Hospital to say thank you to frontline healthcare professionals.

Edith and Matilda’s mum Susie explained that the girls wished to express just how proud they are of the NHS and how important it is for the community to do their part.

A WOMAN from Ellesmere Port was making hundreds of special headbands which hospital staff and carers could attach their protective face masks to in order to avoid getting painful sores.

Beckie Blundell, 30, came up with the idea to help the frontline workers she describes as "heroes" after her sister Gemma Farr – a nurse at Ellesmere Port Hospital – complained about having sore ears as a result of wearing the masks due to the pandemic.

She sewed buttons on a headband so the mask could attach to them rather than being wrapped around her ears.

Her sister's colleagues on Bluebell Unit were so impressed with the headbands she decided to make them all one too.

It inspired Beckie to launch an online fundraising appeal so she could create the headbands in bulk to help health care staff across the UK.

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A CHESTER pub chef was doing his bit to help key workers and vulnerable residents during the crisis – by supplying them with hundreds of home-cooked meals.

Phil Jones decided to combine his love for cooking with a desire to help those who need it most after being placed on furlough.

Over a three week period, he provided more than 300 people – including NHS staff, police officers and elderly people – with a variety of tasty dishes, from corned beef hash and curries to pastries and beef stew and dumplings.

A HOLIDAY park entertainer kept his promise of getting 'gunged' in support of NHS staff working tirelessly during the coronavirus pandemic – and in the process raised more than £400 for charity.

Reece Lloyd, from Chester, was aiming to raise £200 – along with a few laughs – by getting covered in slime in aid of NHS Charities Together.

But the 19-year-old, who works as an entertainer at Broadland Sands Holiday Park in Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth, and was back home during lockdown, comfortably surpassed his target.

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A SIX-YEAR-OLD Chester girl's singing performance lifted the spirits of thousands of viewers.

Summer-Joules Saunders asked her mum Joanne what she could do to help people struggling to deal with the social isolation imposed as part of the coronavirus pandemic.

Due to social distances measures, Summer-Joules embarked on an online singing tutorial with Majestic Academy in the hope to put a smile on the elderly and vulnerable.

Despite having only just six lessons in two weeks, Summer-Joules then learnt an old classic from the hit musical Les Misérables, Castle on a Cloud.

A BOY from Ellesmere Port helped deliver essential food and drink to residents unable to go out during the coronavirus lockdown.

Young Cal Graham, six, would normally be playing football up to three or four times a week, but as a result of the lockdown, he wanted to put his efforts into something positive.

With the help of dad Gary Graham, Cal helped get fruit, veg, eggs, milk and other essentials to those in the Groves area of Ellesmere Port (sometimes further afield) who couldn't get out, were self isolating, vulnerable or whose family were also self isolating.

A CHESTER-BASED group donated hundreds of headbands and face mask adaptors to NHS trusts across the country to help staff manage during the crisis.

Handmade for Dementia has a strong community group on Facebook which had previously dedicated its time to making dementia cannula sleeves, dementia comfort dolls and fidget lap mats for people living with dementia.

Sharon Wallace, founder of the group, explained that, temporarily, the group had suspended making the dementia cannula sleeves and were focusing on making headbands and face mask adaptors for the NHS.

A CHESTER entertainer who has performed at care homes, clubs and hotels struck a chord with her community by singing to her neighbours.

Sharon Wallace explained that as her gigs had been cancelled due to coronavirus lockdown regulations, she decided to sing on her drive, "for her own sanity" and for neighbours to come out and have a sing along while observing social distancing.

She said: "This has happened for the last two weekends now and has been a great success."

CHILDREN from an Ellesmere Port dance school created a heartwarming video paying tribute to our frontline workers during the coronavirus crisis – and raised more than £500 for the NHS in the process.

Stars Dance Academy in Great Sutton got its members to film themselves performing at home during the lockdown and holding messages of support for keyworkers, which were used to create the video.

A CHESTER schoolgirl raised more than £1,000 for the NHS by walking 10 miles while in isolation.

Nine year-old Bethan Jones, from Newton, completed 250 laps around her garden, in a bid to raise vital funds.

“My aunties Clare, Sian and Lel all work for the NHS, they are working really hard so I wanted to help,” said the Mickle Trafford Village School pupil.

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A CHESTER boy dyed his hair blue in aid of the NHS.

Dean Baird, 10, who lives with autism, braved the blue hair dye in order to raise hundreds of pounds.

His mum Shauna said: “This is a massive thing for Dean to do as he usually would never anyone touch his hair other than the barbers."