Covid-19 Memorial opens at Forest of Dean Crematorium
A Covid-19 Memorial at Forest of Dean Crematorium near Cinderford is now available for the public to visit.
The memorial was officially unveiled at a launch event on Friday 16th July at the Cinderford 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 the Forest of Dean crematorium features a design created by 10-year-old Jake Insall. His design features two hands reaching through and over a rainbow.
Jake said: “The hand that comes through the rainbow represents a person who has been lost and the hand that is coming over the rainbow is a person who is still alive. Holding hands, they are still connected and, in some way, still together.”
The design has been etched onto the memorial stones at Westerleigh Group’s Sedgemoor, Treswithian Downs and Westerleigh crematoria as well as Forest of Dean 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.”
The event will be streamed as part of a video service, available here. Please visit https://www.forestofdeancrematorium.co.uk/index.php for opening hours.