Covid-19 Memorial opens at Forest Park Crematorium
A Covid-19 Memorial at Forest Park Crematorium in Ilford, Essex is now available for the public to visit.
The memorial was officially unveiled at a launch event on Friday 30th July at the Essex site, which is run by Westerleigh Group, the UK’s largest independent owner and operator of crematoria and cemeteries, with 35 facilities across England, Scotland and Wales.
Just over a year ago, Westerleigh Group announced plans to create permanent dedicated memorials within its landscaped Gardens of Remembrance at most of its sites for people to visit and commemorate loved ones who died during the pandemic.
The memorials also provide focal points for people to remember, reflect on and pay tribute to NHS key workers and whole communities who pulled together during the crisis.
At the heart of each tranquil memorial is an all-polished black granite obelisk surrounded by wildflower planting incorporating all the colours of the rainbow, which became a common symbol of hope during the pandemic.
Westerleigh Group invited people of all ages and backgrounds to create a design for the stones, and six winners were chosen, one for each of Westerleigh Group’s regions.
The obelisk at the memorial in Essex features a design which was created by art graduate Camilla Fitzjohn, aged 52, from Harlow. Her design features a round white globe surrounded by a rainbow, with hands reaching up into the centre, releasing three birds of paradise.
She said: “It feels great and wonderful that something of my art will be looked at by people from the future, there is no prize bigger than that. I wanted to incorporate the rainbow because this has been used through the pandemic, and it is to recognise the doctors and nurses who are working so hard in such a difficult situation.”
Camilla’s design has been etched onto the memorial stones at Westerleigh Group’s Barham, Basildon and District, Cam Valley, Charing, Cromer, New Southgate, Parndon Wood, West Suffolk and Woollensbrook crematoria as well as Forest Park Crematorium.
Roger Mclaughlan, Chief Executive Officer of Westerleigh Group, said: “I’m proud that our Covid-19 memorial is now open for people to visit.
“So many communities have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Sadly, many families have lost loved ones, and our thoughts and sincere condolences go to them, first and foremost.
“We felt we needed to do something not only to remember those who passed away but also to honour others who did so many positive and selfless acts to support people and bring their communities closer together.
“These lasting memorials will provide a tranquil place for people to remember and reflect; where they can seek some comfort knowing that the legacy of those lost is not only being recognised but will be remembered for many generations to come.”
Members of the public are welcome to come and visit the Covid-19 memorial at Forest Park Crematorium. Please visit www.forestparkcrematorium.co.uk for opening hours.