A group of filmmakers and other creatives are offering to commemorate lost loved ones

While lockdown rules may have relaxed in many areas, ongoing funeral restrictions have left some families unable to grieve together. Advice currently maintains that - alongside the funeral director, chapel attendant and funeral staff - solely household or close family members should attend, and others such as friends only if these are unable. Plus of course social distancing still applies, making consolation yet harder still.

I watched the film last night through floods of tears, it's really lovely, thank you so much!

That’s why, last month, a generous collective of filmmakers and other creatives from Manchester and beyond launched Video for Distant Memorials (VDM): a free video memorial for anyone who has lost a loved one - whether or not the death was due to COVID-19 - during lockdown.

2020 05 25 Sarah Hodgetts Vdm
Bolton-based filmmaker Sarah Hodgetts launched VDM to help grieving families during lockdown

At this time of social distancing and isolation, the videos enable family and friends to join together and say goodbye virtually. 

Bolton-based filmmaker Sarah Hodgetts is the founder of VDM. Having previously made a film in memory of her grandad Dennis, and wanting to do something useful in response to COVID-19, she put a call out on LinkedIn - asking for other people with creative and media skills who could help to make memorial videos for families. Over 50 people offered their support and skills; including creative agencies, businesses and a huge number of freelance filmmakers, editors, producers and voiceover artists. 

The service has been a vital support to people such as Helen and Paula, who recently lost their mum Stella to COVID-19. Her video can be seen below.

Hodgetts said: “We've had messages from some families saying that their film has brought some light to their family at a very dark time, and it is great to be able to do something to help. 

“This is not an easy task, but the creative community has really shown what it’s all about - they are completely committed to making sure that people's stories are not lost.”

VDM is free but users who can afford it are encouraged to donate to the NHS Charities Together fund.

If you would like to request a video, get in touch with the group using the website contact form or by emailing video.distantmemorials@gmail.com

For more support and information during lockdown, see our COVID-19 microsite