It was a year like no other, with Britons told to stay at home, avoid other people and do everything possible to stem the spread of coronavirus in 2020.
But community spirit and the feeling of togetherness has been alive and well, with many people going out of their way to help others and lift the mood.
Here, we take a look through the best images that reflect the positivity and light which emerged during a dark period in our nation’s history.
After Boris Johnson announced the stay-at-home order on March 23, the streets, workplaces and roads of Britain cleared overnight and an eerily quiet atmosphere descended over our towns and cities (Stefan Rousseau/PA) Schools were closed, people were told to work from home, and visitor attractions usually bustling with tourists all year round fell silent (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) But out of the gloom emerged positivity, with rainbow artwork and messages of thanks popping up across the country (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) The rainbow has become a symbol of hope throughout the pandemic, adorning public spaces, being used in giant murals, while children up and down the country painted pictures of rainbows to display in their windows (Jane Barlow/PA) Rainbows have become synonymous with the NHS, often used alongside messages of thanks for our health workers on the frontline of the pandemic (Owen Humphreys/PA) But the positivity was not merely symbolic – a huge community effort swung into action across the country to provide food for those in need (Victoria Jones/PA) With thousands of people told to shield and not venture outdoors at all, and huge numbers enduring financial hardship caused by the virus, food parcels were a lifeline for many (Joe Giddens/PA) In many cases the food was donated, packed and delivered by an army of volunteers, working round the clock to help others in their time of need (Aaron Chown/PA) Meanwhile, thousands of people embarked on challenges to raise money for the NHS and other charities, led by Captain Sir Tom Moore, who captured the nation’s hearts walking laps of his garden (Joe Giddens/PA) Captain Tom, 100, raised millions for the NHS, went on to receive dozens of awards – including a knighthood – and inspired many other people to fundraise (Chris Jackson/PA) Sir Tom inspired fundraisers young and old – including five-year-old Tony Hudgell, who walked 10km over 30 days on his prosthetic legs to raise £1 million for the hospital that cared for him (Gareth Fuller/PA) Many of those fundraisers were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in October – including nurse Alison Williams, who helped collect essential items for patients on Covid-positive wards who could not have visitors (Andrew Milligan/PA) NHS staff on those wards were the focus of the nation every week at the height of the pandemic, as people joined the Clap for Carers (Victoria Jones/PA) People stood on their doorsteps every Thursday at 8pm to clap, cheer and bang pots and pans to show their support for those on the front line of the pandemic (Danny Lawson/PA) Over the summer, some sense of normality returned as pubs reopened, non-essential shops welcomed people back, and soon pupils were back in class too (Danny Lawson/PA) But this was the new normal, where face masks were required on public transport, in pubs and shops, and in school corridors, and social distancing was enforced (Jane Barlow/PA) We were told this new normal and various levels of restrictions would exist until a coronavirus vaccine was developed and deployed. And as the end of the year approached, a vaccine was finally approved for use in the UK (Jacob King/PA) On December 8, the hopes of the nation that the end of the pandemic was on the horizon rested with Margaret Keenan, 90, as she became the first person in the UK to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine (Jacob King/PA)