COVID-19 Memorial Garden Design Unveiled
An artists’ impression shows how a new memorial garden at Wessex Vale Crematorium to remember people who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic will look.
Westerleigh Group, the UK’s largest independent owner-operator of crematoria and cemeteries, announced last month its intention to create a memorial garden at each of its 34 sites across the country, including Wessex Vale facility, near Southampton.
Lisa Johnson, site manager, said: “The new garden will be a tranquil place for people to visit and remember loved ones who died during the pandemic, and to pay tribute to those who sacrificed so much to help others who were sick, isolated or vulnerable.
“The centre-piece of each garden will be a stone monument surrounded by a floral arrangement representing a rainbow, which has become a symbol of hope during the pandemic.
“Many people have put pictures of rainbows in their windows during the lockdown, to cheer up passers- by and to offer a bright message of hope.
“Our rainbows will be created using the vibrant colours of Begonias, Petunias and Geraniums.”
The stone at the centre of the memorial garden will be made from all-polished black granite and is a typical traditional memorial for remembrance but with a Westerleigh change of design. The memorials will be individually carved by Westerleigh’s highly-skilled stonemasons.
Work is expected to begin on the stone memorials in the Autumn with garden landscaping taking place in early Spring 2021.
Lisa and her team at Wessex Vale Crematorium are now looking to identify the best location within the grounds for the garden, which is expected to open mid-to-late Spring 2021.
She added: “We are proud that our crematorium enjoys close links with our local community, and we therefore thought it would be an appropriate gesture to create these permanent and lasting memorials.
“It will be a special place where people can remember and reflect on the loved ones they have lost, and give thanks to the wonderful way that the NHS, key workers and whole communities pulled together during this unprecedented crisis.
“As this project progresses, we will be reaching out to the local community to help shape and finalise our plans.”