The year of COVID-19 – and resilience at its finest

2020 has been an incredibly challenging year for us all and, as it can be assumed that no one has been left untouched by the virus in some way or another, it would be understandable if you were to describe it negatively.

However, the single word I would use to describe this year would be ‘resilient’.

The definition, according to the Oxford English Dictionary is ‘[they] showed great courage and resilience in fighting back from a losing position to win the game’.

While in no way do I imply 2020 has been a game, it is how you respond in the face of adversity. For local authorities, a pandemic will have been prepared for with emergency plans being put into place after years of endless preparation. Staff have had to adapt overnight from working in offices to working from home.  The challenges to IT teams have been immense and the strain on already overstretched resources may have even led to sleepless nights for staff struggling to ensure services continue whilst still keeping themselves and colleagues safe.

Similarly, Finders International have had to change with the majority of staff working remotely. While it has been easier for Finders to diverge operations given the smaller scale of staff, it was no mean feat to undertake. Physical resources have been closed, which presented a few issues, however online resources remained available and Finders were able to continue tracing next of kin as usual.

Personally, 2020 has meant I have seen a change in the way I work with face-to-face meetings being postponed. Over the past two and a half years prior to the lockdown, I have had the privilege of meeting many of you in person whether that be in your offices or at one of the many events we have successfully run across the country.

However, in late February it was beginning to look like things were needing to change and quickly as the realisation dawned on many that this crippling virus was not going to go away. Our events were postponed, and we moved our conferences online. Zoom became the new normal with our speakers recording their presentations for our events. Staff have had to adapt, learn and develop new skills to ensure that we provide a quality offering online. Websites have been amended to better suit changing needs, requiring the whole team to pull together.

While we usually have one PHA Funeral event a year, we provided two this year and we have further provided separate events for deputyship teams, private client solicitors, hospitals and coroners, which we are proud to have successfully organised receiving excellent feedback. Furthermore, for each feedback form completed, we donated money to charities working hard to support those that need it the most during this turbulent year.

Whilst we may not know when, or if, things will return to normal, we have still been able to support teams, provide quality material and engage via video conferencing. In the face of adversity, I think we have all shown great resilience and we are looking to further excel our drive to supporting the public sector into 2021 – a year we are all looking upon optimistically.

Have a peaceful and relaxing festive season, but of overwhelmingly more importance, keep well and keep safe.

Hope to see you in 2021.

David Lockwood – Finders International


The PHFIS is intended as a guide for local authorities and hospitals who deal with public health funerals. If you would like to learn more about the PHFIS, watch our past events or require assistance, you can further explore our website here. Alternatively, you can telephone: +44(0) 20 7490 4935 or email: [email protected].