A memorial garden is to be created at Forest Park Cemetery & Crematorium as a tranquil place where people can come to remember loved ones who died during the Covid-19 pandemic and pay tribute to those who sacrificed so much to help others who were sick, isolated or vulnerable.
The memorial garden is one of 34 to be created across England, Scotland and Wales by Westerleigh Group, the UK’s largest independent owner-operator of crematoria and cemeteries.
It will be beautifully landscaped with colourful, seasonal planting making up a rainbow – which, for many, has been a symbol of hope. The focal point will be a stone memorial individually carved by Westerleigh’s highly skilled stonemasons.
Roger Mclaughlan, Chief Executive of Westerleigh Group, explained: “Over the centuries, people have commemorated significant, life-changing events by creating memorials to honour those who have died. We wanted to do something similar to acknowledge the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the local communities we serve.
“Our local crematoria and cemeteries have very close links to the people who live and work in the surrounding areas. We are all too aware of the impact this pandemic has had and will continue to have on them, which is why we felt it was appropriate to create a permanent and lasting memorial in the grounds of our crematoria. It will be a special place where people can come to remember and reflect, and to give thanks to the wonderful way that the NHS, key workers and whole communities pulled together during this crisis.
“We hope these memorial gardens will be well received and as we move forward, we want our communities to join us in our plans and help to shape them. The gardens will be a permanent memorial of these times for future generations.”
Work is expected to begin on the stone memorials in the Autumn with garden landscaping taking place in early Spring 2021, shortly before the memorial gardens are opened. More details will be revealed over the coming months.