Residents of Harborough urged to help create Covid-19 memorial at crematorium

People from all over Harborough are being urged to help create a unique heartwarming Covid-19 memorial at one of the district’s crematoriums

By Red Williams
Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 4:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 4:10 pm
Westerleigh Memorial.
Westerleigh Memorial.

The Westerleigh Group is setting up memorial gardens at its site in London Road, Great Glen, as well as at over 30 other centres nationwide.

The centre-piece of each garden will be an impressive obelisk which Westerleigh is inviting local people to contribute to.

The company is aiming to establish a peaceful place for contemplation and reflection for people who have lost loved ones during the devastating coronavirus pandemic.

Roger McLaughlan.

It also wants to set up a permanent powerful tribute to heroic frontline NHS staff, care home carers and others who have given their all to help and support Covid-19 victims.

An open invitation is being extended to people to submit designs to be etched onto the stone monuments in each of the gardens.

The manager of Great Glen Crematorium has now sent invitations to schools, art clubs, youth projects, care homes, hospitals and other organisations throughout the area asking them to generate imaginative but poignant ideas.

The competition was launched last month and you have until Saturday October 31 to make your mark.

The Westerleigh Group is split into seven regions nationwide and wants a different design for each division.

Chief executive Roger Mclaughlan said: “This means that people could incorporate local landmarks or something else that is representative of their region and community into their designs.

“When we decided to create these gardens, we said we wanted to provide permanent, tranquil places for people to visit to remember loved ones who died during the pandemic.

“And also to remember and reflect on those who have sacrificed so much to help others who were sick, isolated or vulnerable.”

He added: “We also said we wanted local people to help shape how the gardens would look, so that each of them would become something of importance to our local communities.

“This competition is a way for local people to be able to make their mark on the monuments.

“Earlier this year, we released an artist’s impression of what the memorial gardens will look like.

“This included a floral display representing a rainbow around the monument, which has become a widely-recognised symbol of hope during the pandemic.

“We’ve been very interested to see some of the creative designs people have already submitted to us.

“There has been a good mix of birds, plants and clever use of different shapes.

“But there’s still plenty of time for other people to submit their ideas.”

The obelisks are made of polished black granite.

The seven winning designs will be individually carved into them by Westerleigh’s own highly-skilled stonemasons.

Every single obelisk nationwide will feature an inscription, which reads: “This memorial has been placed to remember and recognise the lives and efforts of all affected by the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020.”

The seven Westerleigh Group regions are East, London, North, Scotland, South, South West and Wales.

The winning design for each region will be featured in all the individual memorial gardens within that region.

Plaques featuring the names of the winning designers will be attached to the memorials - so their names will go down in history.

“Our sites have close links to their local communities and are places where people go to say goodbye to their loved ones and reflect on life.

“Everyone has been affected by the pandemic this year and we wanted to create permanent and lasting memorials in each of those communities,” added Mr Mclaughlan.

“We wanted to enable people to get involved and help us with the design.

“The design itself can be full-colour.

“But it needs to be simple enough so that it can be carved onto stone - so some creative thinking is required.”

Designs should be no bigger than A4 in size and must be submitted by Saturday October 31.

After the closing date, a shortlist of final entries for each region will be drawn up and winners will be chosen.

Work is expected to start on the stone memorials later this year.

Garden landscaping will go ahead next spring before the memorial gardens open shortly afterwards.

You can email your entries to: [email protected] or post them to:

Design Competition, Westerleigh Group, Chapel View, Westerleigh Road, Westerleigh, Bristol BS37 8QP.

Entrants should include their name, address and a telephone number so that they can easily be contacted if their design is chosen.