A Covid-19 memorial has been formally unveiled at Sedgemoor Crematorium near Burnham-On-Sea this week, which is now available for the public to visit.
The memorial was officially unveiled at a launch event on Thursday (29th July) at the Somerset 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 wild flower planting incorporating 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 Sedgemoor Crematorium obelisk features a design created by 10-year-old Jake Insall from Chilton Polden. His design features two hands reaching through and over a rainbow. Jake saw his artwork etched in stone for the first time when he unveiled the memorial at Sedgemoor Crematorium.
He 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.
“I was happy, excited, emotional and a little bit nervous when I heard I had won and the design would be used on four memorials”
The design has been etched onto the memorial stones at Westerleigh Group’s Forest of Dean, Treswithian Downs and Westerleigh crematoria as well as Sedgemoor 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 Sedgemoor Crematorium. Please visit www.sedgemoorcrem.co.uk for opening hours.
Picture Caption: (L-R) Laura Williams, Site Manager. Jake Insall, Competition Winner. Matt Brook, Commercial & Operations Manager.