It has been more than a year since the United Kingdom confirmed its first case of COVID-19, and as we fast approach the anniversary of the first confirmed case in Swindon, Haydon Wick Parish Council in North Swindon, will be joining the National Trust and other organisations in planting a circle of blossom trees as an act of remembrance.
As brave NHS staff and armies of volunteers work determinedly to vaccinate the nation and we edge towards a glimmer of normal life, the planned memorial will provide residents of all ages with a space to remember those that have lost their lives during the pandemic, honour key workers and reflect on shared experiences of this time. The project will involve the planting cherry blossom trees, installing sleeper benches and a flower bed next to Orchid Vale Care Home in the parish. A spokesperson for the Parish Council commented:
“From talking with residents it become clear that many wanted to recognise the sad deaths of all this community has lost to COVID19, as well as to express a communal sense of shared loss and shared remembrance. We still have a long way to go to beat COVID19 but the vaccines are a symbol of hope in this moment of darkness, and that’s how we see this memorial”.
The larger urban enhancement project headed by the National Trust is designed to replicate the Japanese ‘hanami’ – and Haydon Wick will be adopting this ancient tradition of viewing cherry blossoms as the first sign of spring, for years to come.
The Council had recognised the significant importance of open spaces on the mental and physical health of its residents during lockdowns. It has completed many projects such as parish-wide bulb planting, allotment enhancements and competitions to benefit the local residents of Haydon Wick in Swindon.