A remembrance tree was planted on Friday 1 October in Gadebridge Park in memory of Dacorum residents who have lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The red leaf Copper Beech will be the focal point of a garden of reflection to be installed by Dacorum Borough Council next year.
Plans for the memorial garden include benches and wildflower planting to encourage a biodiverse, peaceful place for the community to reflect and remember loved ones.
The initiative is the culmination of a fundraising effort by resident Margaret Sharp, from the Dacorum Carer Support Hub, who wanted to create a place of reflection for people to remember those lost during the pandemic.
Margaret, who started a Crowdfunding campaign and appealed to local businesses, said: ‘Early in the pandemic we lost one of our carers and we were all devastated. Over the coming months we saw more and more people affected by the virus and the heartbreak it has caused to so many. It’s been a terrible time for our community and I wanted to shine a light on the people that needed support and thought a tree would be a lovely place for people to go and reflect. It is wonderful news that Dacorum Borough Council is installing a garden around the tree and I’m sure many people will draw comfort from being able to visit and sit in peace.’
Margaret raised money from residents and local groups and worked with Rt Hon Sir Mike Penning MP to raise funds from local businesses.
Sir Mike Penning said: ‘The impact of COVID-19 on our community has been devastating. The planting of a lasting, living memorial is an important step for Dacorum to commemorate those that we have lost during this time, and to remember those people who have been, and continue to be, affected. We hope this special place in Gadebridge Park will be somewhere people can go to pause for reflection and pay their respects for many years and decades to come.’
Cllr Margaret Griffiths, Deputy Leader of Dacorum Borough Council attended the tree planting along with Dacorum Borough Council Chief Executive Claire Hamilton.
The tree, which is around 25 years old and was provided at cost by Majestic Trees, in Flamstead, will be blessed at an official ceremony next year.