The Westerleigh Group has unveiled an artist’s impression of how its new memorial gardens to remember people who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic will look.
Westerleigh, 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.
Now the group has provided a first glimpse of what the memorials will look like.
The gardens are designed to be tranquil places 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.
Roger Mclaughlan, CEO of Westerleigh said: “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 gardens 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.
The gardens are then expected to open shortly afterward.
Roger added: “All our sites have close links to their local communities, and they have all been impacted by the pandemic.
“We therefore thought it would be an appropriate gesture to create a permanent and lasting, memorial at our crematoria.
“The garden(s) will be a special place/special places, where people can come to remember and reflect, and to 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 our local communities to help shape and finalise our plans.”