A beautiful, lasting tribute.
One year after England was plunged into a national lockdown amid one of the biggest crisis of our lifetime, Manchester City Council has confirmed that it will begin planting ‘beacon’ trees – in reflection and respect to those in our city who have lost their lives throughout the pandemic.
A tribute to those who lost their lives too soon to the virus, as well as those who selflessly worked on the frontline to help protect us from it, the oak trees will live in the city’s five cemeteries: Southern Cemetery, Philips Park Cemetery, Blackley Cemetery, Gorton Cemetery and Manchester General (Harpurhey) Cemetery.
A dedication stone at the foot of each tree reads: “This oak tree, chosen for its beauty and strength, is dedicated on behalf of bereavement services to the people of Manchester. We remember those who lost their lives in the Covid-19 Pandemic. We honour the residents, workers and volunteers who protected our great city.”
Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, said: “Cemeteries are already a place of remembrance and contemplation. On this national day of reflection it is right that we mark the pandemic period, honouring those we have lost but also some of the remarkable efforts people have made to protect their city and their communities.”
Councillor Angeliki Stogia, Executive Member for Environment, said: “Oak trees are recognised as a symbol of strength and endurance. These trees will be a poignant reminder of the challenging times we have been through together, the losses but also some of the inspirational tales, for very many years to come. Trees are remarkable and that is why we are determined to further add to the city’s tree cover.”
More COVID tribute trees will be planted this year as part of the city’s £1m citywide Tree Action MCR programme, which will include other tree species and will be planted both in the streets and within community orchids.