Covid-19 memorial garden opens in Hemel Hempstead park

Margaret Sharp campaigned for the garden to be created

Tuesday, 19th July 2022, 2:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th July 2022, 2:32 pm
Gagan Mohindra MP, Mayor of Dacorum, Margaret Sharp. Rt Hon Sir Mike Penning MP, Cllr Rob Beauchamp and Rev Canon John Williams
Gagan Mohindra MP, Mayor of Dacorum, Margaret Sharp. Rt Hon Sir Mike Penning MP, Cllr Rob Beauchamp and Rev Canon John Williams

A new memorial garden to remember the lives lost during the Covid-19 pandemic has opened in Hemel Hempstead.

The garden in Gadebridge Park was officially opened at a tree blessing ceremony at the weekend.

At the heart of the garden is the remembrance tree, which was planted in October. Dacorum Borough Council has installed four benches for people to sit and reflect, along with wildflower planting and a new path.

The idea was the brainchild of Hemel resident Margaret Sharp, who worked with Hemel’s MP Sir Mike Penning to raise money to pay for the tree.

Margaret attended the event and said how moved she was to see the garden open and grateful to all those who had supported it.

She said: “The garden is a beautiful space for people to remember loved ones and reflect on the past few years which have affected so many. I’m grateful to everyone involved who has made this happen.

"This is now a lovely place for people to reflect and remember those we’ve lost and I’m sure people will draw comfort from the garden.”

Margaret had been inspired to fundraise for the garden as she said it ‘broke her heart' that so many families were unable to say a proper goodbye to loved ones who died during the pandemic due to the lockdown restrictions in place.

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One of the benches is dedicated to Dacorum resident Betty Harris, and her family attended the ceremony to pay tribute.

Sir Mike Penning MP, Gagan Mohindra MP, Mayor of Dacorum Cllr John Birnie, Leader of the Council Cllr Andrew Williams, councillors and representatives from community organisations attended the event.

Rev Canon John Williams from St Mary's Church in Hemel Hempstead carried out the tree blessing ceremony.

Cllr Williams said: “Covid-19 impacted so many and we felt it was important to create a memorial garden in remembrance of all those who were affected. The garden is a quiet community space for people to remember and a wonderful new addition to Gadebridge Park.”

Kind hearted Margaret is no stranger for fundraising for good causes – as back in 2000 she raised cash for a stroke ward at Hemel Hempstead.