Cherry tree memorials for lives lost in the pandemic

Memorials are to be created by Wakefield Council to commemorate the lives lost and sacrifices made during the pandemic.

Colourful cherry trees and spring flowering bulbs will be planted at a location in Council wards throughout October and November, starting with a district memorial to be situated at Teall Street / The Springs in Wakefield city centre.

Each of the memorials will feature a plaque, a cherry tree and spring flowering bulbs, including snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells.

Cherry trees and the beautiful spring blossom they produce are regarded as symbolising the transience and fragility of life.

They can also mean renewal and regeneration, providing hope for the post-pandemic future.

It is for these reasons cherry trees were chosen to remember and honour those who have died as a result of COVID-19.

The trees will be in place in time for March next year, which will be the second anniversary of the first national lockdown.

Three species of cherry tree were chosen for their different sizes and looks, Japanese Cherry, Wild Cherry and Bird Cherry.

Council leader Cllr Denise Jeffery has dedicated the first memorial with fellow members of her cabinet, including deputy leader Cllr Jack Hemingway and Cllr Maureen Cummings, with further dedications of the memorials in wards taking place over the following weeks.

A selection of the dedication events is as follows:

Denise Jeffery
Cllr Denise Jeffery
  • Airedale Library, Castleford, on 1 November at 10am;
  • Purston Park, Featherstone, on 4 November at 10am;
  • Brunswick Street/Park Lodge Lane, Eastmoor, on 8 November at 10am;
  • and Green Park Rose Garden, Ossett, on 10 November at 10am.

Cllr Jeffery said: “It’s fitting that we should mark one of the darkest periods in our recent history, and which affected every corner of our district, with a memorial in each ward that will include a tree and flowers to add colour and beauty.

“The memorials are symbolic of life and will be places where people can visit to reflect on losses, the sacrifices made and on hopes for a better future.”