A POND, orchard, an art installation and 2,000 trees will make up the borough’s Covid-19 memorial at Thrybergh Country Park.
Hope Fields — part of the council’s Rotherham Together programme of lockdown activities — is set to be completed next month.
Leanne Buchan, RMBC head of creative programming and engagement, said: “Hope Fields is a dedicated place honouring both the victims of Covid-19 and those who contributed to the fight against virus, from key workers to volunteers and communities.
“The council is working with a range of partners for the memorial project, including the parish council, local communities and artists, and our local MPs.
“After the consultation last year, work to construct the site is underway.”
She added: “Council staff are working hard to plant 2,000 trees at the site, as well as build the 30-metre footpath through the meadow.
“The site will also include a memorial art installation, a pond, an orchard, interactive play and a repurposed bird hide, which is a favourite of visitors, all in keeping with the natural beauty of the site.
“We are looking forward to welcoming friends and families safely, once it is open to the public.”
To preserve and celebrate the site’s natural beauty, visitors will have the opportunity to take part in activities to remember loved ones, such as sowing wildflowers or making eco-friendly bird feeders, rather than leaving mementoes which might be a hazard for wildlife.
The council is still looking for ideas from the public to incorporate into the memorial garden, to the west of the reservoir. Visit RMBC Events Facebook page to contribute by March 3.
Cllr Sarah Allen, cabinet member for cleaner, greener communities, said: “We know people want a range of things from this memorial.
“Some want a place of contemplation to help manage their pain, others want an opportunity to remember and celebrate their loved ones. Some people continue to live with the after-effects of Covid-19 and want a place to rest and recover.”
The memorial will open by March 27 — one year on from the first lockdown being announced. With restrictions likely to still be in place, the launch will include physical and virtual activities.
Rotherham Together, which was commissioned last July, has aimed to combat grief and anxiety through the pandemic. It included the wildflower park land near Clifton Park Museum.