One of the most heartbreaking issues in this Covid19 lockdown is not being able to pay your last respects to a family member, friend or colleague. The restrictions on the numbers who are able to attend a funeral are still in force in Scotland. Some people have expressed their respect by lining the street when a funeral cortege passes.
The Westerleigh Group which is the UK’s largest independent owner-operator of crematoria and cemeteries has decided to create memorial gardens at Stirling Crematorium, West Lothian Crematorium, in Livingstone, and Borders Crematorium, near Melrose.
The gardens will be tranquil places where people can come to remember loved ones who died during the Covid-19 pandemic and pay tribute to those who sacrificed so much to help others who were sick, isolated or vulnerable.
They will be landscaped with colourful, seasonal planting making up a rainbow – which, for many, has been a symbol of hope. The focal point will be a stone memorial individually carved by Westerleigh’s skilled stonemasons.
Roger Mclaughlan, Chief Executive of Westerleigh Group, explained:
“Over the centuries, people have commemorated significant, life-changing events by creating memorials to honour those who have died. We wanted to do something similar to acknowledge the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the local communities we serve.
“Our local crematoria and cemeteries have very close links to the people who live and work in the surrounding areas. We are all too aware of the impact this pandemic has had and will continue to have on them, which is why we felt it was appropriate to create a permanent and lasting memorial in the grounds of our crematoria.
“Each memorial will be a special place 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 crisis.
“We hope these memorial gardens will be well received and as we move forward, we want our communities to join us in our plans and help to shape them. The gardens will be a permanent memorial of these times for future generations.”
Work is expected to begin on the stone memorials in the Autumn with garden landscaping taking place in early Spring 2021, shortly before the memorial gardens are opened.