Plans for memorial to commemorate South Tyneside people who lost their lives to Covid-19

South Tyneside Council is planning to set up a memorial to commemorate those who have lost their lives during the Covid-19 crisis.
South Tyneside Council leader Cllr Iain Malcolm.South Tyneside Council leader Cllr Iain Malcolm.
South Tyneside Council leader Cllr Iain Malcolm.

According to NHS England figures released on Thursday (July 23), the number of people who have died in South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust remains at 325.

This week, council chiefs pledged to develop a memorial to allow residents to reflect and pay their respects to loved ones.

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“Every single death is an absolute tragedy for the families and friends of those who have been affected and indeed for the whole borough,” said Cllr Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council.

“The council is looking at how we can provide some memorial in the future to those who have lost their lives through this virus.

“What shape and form that should take, we will go out to some consultation on it.

“But it would probably be good if [health] partners were involved so that the loved ones and indeed the wider community, have got somewhere where they can reflect on this tragedy and pay their respects accordingly.

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“We will do that as lockdown further eases but I suspect it won’t be until the middle of next year.”

Cllr Malcolm was speaking as chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board on Wednesday (July 22) – a panel which unites the council and health leaders working across South Tyneside.

The comments came following a report from Director of Public Health, Tom Hall, which looked at the impacts of Covid-19 on the population.

South Tyneside Council has already taken steps to recognise the role of key workers during the coronavirus crisis with the prestigious civic award ‘The Freedom of the Borough’.

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The accolade will be considered as a collective honour for those keeping essential services running in South Tyneside – with formal approval expected at a full council meeting in future.

Although plans for a ‘Covid-19 memorial’ are in the early stages, council bosses have said public views will be key in shaping the proposals.

A council spokeswoman added: “We’re keen that there is a lasting tribute to mark the sacrifices of the people of South Tyneside.

“It is only right that those who have lost their battle with coronavirus are commemorated in some way.

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“At present all options are on the table with both a physical monument and actual event being considered.

“We will of course consult with the people of South Tyneside on any lasting tribute before it is put in place and will be able to update further as things progress.”

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