Work is underway to create a Covid Memorial Garden within Telford Town Park in memory of friends, family and community members who are no longer with us as a result of the pandemic.
Telford & Wrekin Council hopes the memorial garden will be a place where residents can come to remember loved ones and find comfort in a peaceful setting, surrounded by nature.
The garden has also been designed to provide a calm and soothing space for those who are still experiencing the impact of Covid, whether through long-term illness or trauma, such as NHS staff.
The one-acre landscaped garden, located to the north-west of Dark Lane car park, will feature a wealth of different tree species including oak, elm and alder, plus attractive meadow planting, a number of benches and a memorial sculptural piece.
Artist Joseph Hillier, who has been commissioned to create the garden’s sculptural focal point, is keen that local bereaved families and friends have the opportunity to influence the piece of art that will be created.
Anyone in Telford and Wrekin who has lost a family member or someone close to them through Covid is invited to join Joseph on Monday 21 November at a drop-in session between 5:30pm and 6:30pm at Telford Theatre in Oakengates. Guests can speak to Joseph at the session and will also be offered the opportunity to paint a stone.
Artist, Joseph Hillier, said: “I am honoured by the huge task of trying to create an apt sculpture in memorial to those lost to Covid in Telford and Wrekin, to create a work which reflects the scale of loss is a colossal task.
“To provide a focal point for families and loved ones, I would like to invite anyone who has lost someone to this tragic pandemic to meet me and tell me their story. I will also invite you to paint a stone as we talk which may be placed in the memorial garden where the sculpture will be also.
“There is no need to book – please just drop in.”
Cllr Kelly Middleton (Lab), cabinet member for leisure, public health and well-being, equalities and partnerships, said:
“This garden will be a very special place. As a council, we would like to express our profound sympathies to everyone in our community who has lost a loved one to Covid. We hope that this Memorial Garden will offer you a comforting and beautiful space to come and remember them.
Cllr Carolyn Healy (Lab), cabinet member for climate change, green spaces, natural and historic environment and cultural services, said:
“The last three years have reinforced just how precious it is to be able to spend time outside, surrounded by nature.
“For that reason, we are committed to maintaining and enhancing our borough’s wonderful green spaces, including this garden, as one of the important ways we can support our community’s mental wellbeing.”
Work on the garden, which has been funded as part of the council’s ‘On Your Side’ programme and designed by their biT group, is already underway, with the project anticipated to be completed in the spring.