Emotional unveiling of ‘magnificent’ Covid-19 memorial in Sheffield city centre
and live on Freeview channel 276
People attached big ribbons embroidered with messages to lost loved ones to the stainless steel willow tree in Balm Green Gardens, near Barker’s Pool, and gave emotional speeches remembering the pandemic.
Sheffield Council leader Terry Fox said it was a “magnificent” sculpture that will provide somewhere anyone can go to reflect.
She said: “Sheffield was remarkable. We have been badly bruised by losing so many of our relations with friends but we have come through and today we are going to remember all those people who we lost but also all those people who worked so hard to bring us through.”
The sculpture was built by local firm Steel Line Limited and designed by architect George King who said it was inspired by the symbolism and properties of willow trees.
He said: “A willow has a strong trunk which symbolises how people worked together to create the strength that was needed at such a difficult time. It is also a flexible and resilient tree, whilst also being delicate. When a storm hits, the tree bends with it. Its long branches sweep all the way to the ground and when it rains the droplets fall all the way down the branches like tears to the ground. When you stand underneath a willow tree you feel embraced and protected.
“It’s an honour to have been selected to create this sculpture and it’s a big responsibility. Covid affected everyone, and we have taken this project seriously to reflect people’s experiences.
“It’s been a pleasure to see their work on the sculpture take shape and to see its completion. It’s a very special, significant piece of art.
“We hope that people will be proud of the final piece, made in Sheffield for the people of Sheffield.”
People can walk inside the tree and Mr King said the it would ‘grow’ over time as more people added messages.