Register Office staff at a North East council are being thanked for their dedicated work during the coronavirus pandemic this National Registrars Day.

Durham County Council is commending the tireless efforts of its Registrars, who have continued to work throughout the pandemic to make sure weddings could go ahead, and that births and deaths were properly recorded.

This Thursday, 1 July, is the inaugural National Day of Recognition for Registrars where Register Office staff across the UK are being celebrated for the community service they provide.

The council’s own County Durham Registration Service has been there for residents that have been navigating big life events during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 24-strong team has been nominated for the Community Heroes award at this year’s MJ Awards, for their efforts to maintain registration services and for treating each customer with compassion and empathy during an uncertain time.

In March 2020, the registration of births and marriage ceremonies were suspended to allow for the registration of a significant increase in deaths at the beginning of the pandemic.

The team worked exceptionally hard to ensure the bereaved received the same level of service and compassion when registering deaths by phone as they would have in person, and consistently received positive feedback from residents for their compassion and customer service.

With the sudden cancellation of wedding ceremonies, the ceremony team were also inundated with phone calls from couples nervous about their big day. On 23 March 2020, the team received almost 400 calls.

The team worked with each affected couple to make alternative arrangements and ensure ceremonies could still go ahead.

One bride even wrote the team a poem to thank them for the “socially distant guard of honour” they gave the couple in the absence of their family and friends.

And when the registration of births resumed later that year, the team devised a “drive-thru” birth registration service to ensure that all 680 babies born during the first lockdown could be registered quickly and safely.

This Thursday, the council will be celebrating the work of the registration service team for the commitment, compassion and care they have provided to others throughout the pandemic.

Cllr Richard Bell, deputy leader and Cabinet member for finance at Durham County Council, said: “We are delighted to take this day to celebrate what our registration services team has achieved this year. Despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, the team has repeatedly gone the extra mile to provide excellent service across the board.

“In doing so, they ensured that national performance standards were maintained and, in some cases, exceeded, contributing to the North East being the highest performing region for registration.

“The County Durham Registration Service are community heroes and we are proud to celebrate them this National Registrars Day.”