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LIVING MEMORIAL: Tree plant to remember coronavirus victims

LIVING MEMORIAL: Tree plant to remember coronavirus victims

Image: LDRS

The head of a Wolverhampton faith organisation is planning to create a ‘living memorial’ dedicated to everyone who has died of coronavirus in the city.

Councillor Jas Dehar (Lab. Blakenhall), chair of Inter Faith, is hoping to launch a borough-wide project whereby a councillor from each Wolverhampton ward plants a tree to represent every single life lost in that area.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) this week, Cllr Dehar said her goal was to give those who had lost loved ones a place to visit where they could say prayers or simply remember.

“Coronavirus has taken many lives. It’s taken our family members, our friends and the NHS staff who have worked so hard to care for those who have suffered. It has devastated every single community.

“My proposal is for the councillors in each ward in Wolverhampton to plant one tree that can stand as a lasting memorial to every single life lost through this unforgiving virus,” she said.

“This way, everyone will have a special place they can go to in order to remember those they have lost – mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons and friends.”

Cllr Dehar said that she was planning to put a motion on the idea forward to the city council at a meeting of the Labour members’ group on Monday (February 1).

“If we can get this project up and running in Wolverhampton, I would like to see it eventually rolled out to other cities and towns across the UK.

“I will write to the other councils in the West Midlands to begin with, but it would be wonderful to see this idea being adopted by the whole country,” she added.

“We could also set aside a date nationally, much the same as we have Remembrance Day, when the whole country can come together to commemorate all those who have died as a result of the virus.

“Perhaps it could be one day in March to coincide with the date that the World Health Organization declared this a global pandemic.”

“If you look at the scale of devastation, it’s very similar to a great deal of wars. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of lives being lost.”

Cllr Dehar said she had spoken to MP Pat McFadden (Lab. Wolverhampton South East) and Professor David Loughton, Chief Executive of the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, who were both supportive of the proposal.

“One thing this virus has taught us is that life is so very precious. We are all equal and we need to respect and appreciate each other,” she added.

Cllr Dehar said she hoped her fellow Labour councillors would be in favour of supporting the proposal.

Words: Joe Sweeney, Local Democracy Reporter


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