COVID-19: Memorial opens in Warwickshire – but will be burned to the ground ‘in a powerful moment of catharsis’ | UK News

COVID-19: Memorial opens in Warwickshire – but will be burned to the ground ‘in a powerful moment of catharsis’ | UK News

A memorial to the victims of COVID-19 in Warwickshire will be burned to the ground shortly after its completion.

It is being put up at the Miner’s Welfare Park in Bedworth, with members of the public invited to adorn the walls with letters and mementoes when it opens today.

The 20m (65ft) wooden structure, which has been called Sanctuary, pays tribute to those who died after testing positive for coronavirus in the last two years.

The memorial is open until 28 May, when it will be set alight and burned to the ground “in a powerful moment of catharsis to help signal a rebirth”.

Artist David Best, who is known for large-scaled intricately carved structures at Burning Man Festival in the Nevada Desert, designed the memorial, along with independent arts company Artichoke, which produced Sanctuary.

It was built in collaboration with members of the community in North Warwickshire.

In the UK, over 178,000 people died from coronavirus since the outbreak of the virus in March 2020.

In March 2021, a mural organised by COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice opened to the public in London.

The National COVID Memorial Wall stretches 500m along the River Thames and has been pained by volunteers to commemorate the victims of the pandemic.

David Best, Sanctuary, as it nears completion, in the Miners’ Welfare Park in Bedworth. Photo by Andrew Moore
David Best designed the memorial. Pic Andrew Moore

“This past year and a half has not been easy for anyone. We have faced terrible tragedy and great loss. I believe in the power of collaboration and community, that by recognising pain and sadness, and laying down our burdens, we can face the future from a place of hope and renewal,” Mr Best said.

Read more:
Bereaved families call for coronavirus memorial wall to be made permanent

Helen Marriage, who is the chief executive and artistic director of Artichoke, told Sky News: “The piece is about what is everybody has lost over the last two years.

“To let go of something so personal, you have to lose the piece. What does it mean if something stays there forever, it doesn’t mean anything. If it stays in people’s memories that is a much stronger thing than some statue that they never look at.”

Councillor Kris Wilson, who is the leader of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, added: “It is a symbolic burning of the tower and its meant to symbolise the end of one thing and the renewal or rebirth of another.”

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Author: Shirley