Public garden to be planted in Stratford to commemorate those lost to Covid-19 pandemic

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced a public garden will be planted at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to commemorate those...

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced a public garden will be planted at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to commemorate those who have died from Covid-19 and the impact of the pandemic on the capital . Pictures: Vickie Flores / London Legacy Development Corporation - Credit: Archant

A public garden will be planted in Stratford to commemorate Londoners who have lost their lives to Covid-19 and the pandemic’s impact in the capital.

The centrepiece of the living memorial at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, announced by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan today (Friday, November 27), will be 33 blossoming trees – representing each of the capital’s boroughs and the City of London.

The eight species of spring blossoming trees were chosen for the memorial because the blossom season coincided with the start of the national lockdown in March, at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic.

The trees, at the heart of the garden, will be planted in three rings – a central ring of 17 trees and two smaller rings of nine and seven – in the north of the park early next year.

Mr Khan said: “Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on our city and our country.

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“While we continue to battle the virus, we are creating a lasting, living memorial to commemorate those who have lost their lives, pay tribute to the amazing work of our key workers and create a space to reflect on the experience of the pandemic.”

Newham has been one of the worst hit boroughs by the pandemic and was home to the Nightingale field hospital at the ExCeL exhibition centre.

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Mr Khan said: “The pandemic has changed our capital forever.

“It has disproportionately impacted many communities and exposed and widened inequalities in our society.

“This public garden of blossom trees will be a permanent reminder of the lives that have been lost, a tribute to every single key worker, and a symbol of how Londoners have stood together to help one another.”

The blossom garden is being created in partnership with the National Trust and with support from Bloomberg.

The Edible Bus Stop and Davies White have been chosen as the designers and landscape architects, respectively, while Stratford organisation Rosetta Arts will work with the community on its development.

Artist Junior Phipps will collaborate on the design of a path and public benches.

The blossom grove will be the first of many to be planted across the UK, which also signal the start of the National Trust’s ambition to plant 20 million trees over the next decade.

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