Havering opens Memorial Woodland two years on from start of the Pandemic

Havering Council has officially opened a new memorial woodland to recognise those lost to COVID-19.

At a ceremony today (23 March 2022), the Mayor of Havering, Councillor John Mylod joined representatives of the Council, borough, voluntary sector and families who lost loved ones to open the COVID-19 Memorial Woodland at Hornchurch Country Park.

The opening ceremony coincided with the National Day of Remembrance, marking the second anniversary of the UK lockdown.

The Memorial Woodland, consisting of over 4,000 trees, is a living testament to those who have lost their lives, family or loved ones.

It also honours the significant efforts of our key workers and residents who kept the borough safe during the Pandemic.

The ceremony took place at the Central Memorial and included speeches from the Mayor of Havering, Deputy Lieutenant of Havering, Nick Bracken OBE and the Leader of Havering Council, Councillor Damian White.

The country park setting for the memorial is significant, as many of us reconnected with outdoor and green spaces during the pandemic and enjoyed the positive mental and physical health benefits.

The site has been designed with nature in mind with distinct areas of this woodland that will develop over time and benefit wildlife as the site matures.

The Central Memorial complete with stone is designed to be a contemplative, peaceful space for quiet remembrance.

The Mayor of Havering, Councillor John Mylod said:

“We have all been impacted by the awful Pandemic, all aspects of our lives changed.

“We had to come together as a community to do our best to keep everyone safe and protect our most vulnerable.

“Today was an opportunity for Havering to collectively reflect and remember all we have lost and endured.

“I hope this Memorial woodland gives comfort to all of Havering for generations to come.”

The Leader of Havering Council, Councillor Damian White, said:

“It’s an honour to pay tribute to those we lost and to thank the immense efforts of our community and key workers over the past two years.

"This woodland will provide a space for remembrance and reflection for years to come, whilst serving as a reminder of Havering’s unwavering community spirit which helped us all get through the most difficult of times.

“I wish to extend my sincerest gratitude to project sponsors The Thames Trust, Marlborough Highways, CED Stone who all contributed to this legacy project.

"Their support has made this Memorial Woodland a reality.

“We also thank the families who lost loved ones and Wates Residential for contributing towards the installation of dedicated memorial benches on site.”

The Memorial Woodland forms the main part of COVID-19 commemorations that includes a series of local individual tree plantings in borough wards and at significant sites such as Queen’s Hospital, Havering Town Hall, vaccination centres and testing sites.

-Published by Orlo on Wednesday 23rd March 2022