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Benji, Kat, William and Martyn Mitchell
Photographed 26th April 2020 - 35 days into lockdown 

We had been watching the events unfolding around the world for quite a while but I think the first time Covid affected our day to day life was the baptism of our baby, William on 8th March 2020 in Heydon church. Martyn’s brother was unable to attend as he was self isolating due to displaying covid19 symptoms after coming back from a business trip in America.  Over the following week we became more aware that covid19 was becoming prolific in the UK. On the 17th March we made the decision to pull Benji out of nursery and preschool and practice social distancing.

Our lives changed quite a lot just before lockdown as Martyn’s company, Sagentia was approached by the government to design and produce 15,000 ventilators. Due to the timescales and complexity of the project to meet the needs of covid19 the project was challenging.

While Martyn was working 14+ hour days, 7 days a week I was at home with both children (at the time they were 2.5 years and 5 months) and a very enthusiastic dog. The best way to describe how I found it was intense, loud and exhausting.

The moment that stands out in my mind is the first day Martyn had a day off, which was a few weeks into lockdown. We had missed spending time with him so much and I think we all really appreciated spending time together as a family.

This experience has challenged us to be more creative within the home to find new ways to entertain our children as usually we would go out most days.

One of the most painful parts of this period is that as family with young children it has been heartbreaking to actively discourage Benji from approaching people and not playing with his friends. Due to his age he is too young to really understand why he can’t play with them.

I think this experience has reinforced to us how much we love our friends and families and the importance of making time to see people socially.

Written 9th May 2020

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