Site chosen for Doncaster coronavirus memorial garden after appeal raises £6,000

A site has been chosen for a Doncaster memorial garden to remember the town’s 200 plus victims of coronavirus.

Thursday, 25th June 2020, 7:31 am
Updated Thursday, 25th June 2020, 7:31 am

The new garden will be situated near the entrance to Doncaster Royal Infirmary after more than £6,000 was raised in a week.

The Rainbow Garden will remember all the town’s victims of COVID-19 – which currently stands at 215 people – and includes NHS workers, Kevin Smith, a plaster technician at DRI and consultant Dr Medhat Atalla.

A spokesman for Doncaster and Bassetlaw NHS Teaching Foundation Hospitals Trust said: “We're blown away that thanks to local people, we have raised almost £6,000 in just over a week.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The site of the new Rainbow Garden at DRI.

A separate garden will also be built at Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop.

Paul Haslam, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, told how Dr Atalla, aged 62, was a ‘really lovely guy’ who had a ‘cheery determination’ and the hospital would ‘struggle to fill his void’.

Paul said Dr Atalla, originally from Egypt, ‘almost certainly contracted (coronavirus) at work’.

He said: “There was a very high incidence of Covid-19 in the wards he was on because he worked with patients who had come from nursing homes.”

The gardens will provide a place for people visiting the hospitals to have lunch outdoors and will also be used as a space where people can remember loved ones lost to the pandemic in Doncaster.

As of yesterday, the town’s death toll stood at 216 with more than 400 patients allowed home after treatment.

Paul said while helping out at the Trust’s A&E departments during breaks he realised there was ‘nowhere for people to sit down and have lunch’.

He said: “I thought it would be nice for anyone who comes to the hospitals to have somewhere they can just go and clear their minds and get away from it all.”

Emma Shaheen, fundraising lead at the Trust said: “During the pandemic the rainbow has become a symbol of support for the NHS and it feels fitting that we create rainbow gardens in memory of those we have sadly lost.”

You can support the campaign HERE