Sheffield’s Covid-19 memorial to be unveiled tomorrow
and live on Freeview channel 276
The steel willow tree, designed by architect George King, will stand in Balm Green Gardens, near Barker’s Pool.
Mr King said: “When we thought about Covid and how the pandemic affected so many people, the willow tree idea was powerful to us. 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.”
It will be unveiled by councillors Sioned-Mair Richards, Lord Mayor, and Terry Fox, council leader, just before 1pm.
They will be joined by other speakers who will share stories about how they were affected by Covid.
Visitors will be able to attach messages and ribbons to the tree.
Coun Fox previously said: “I look forward to seeing it in place, as somewhere where anyone can go and just stand and look at it or inside it, to reflect, be thoughtful and show compassion. Covid was difficult for everyone in all sorts of ways, but for some people its effects will last a lifetime.”
Balm Green Gardens was gifted to Sheffield in 1937 by J.G. Graves, who said: “It will, I hope, provide a note of quiet sympathy which will be in harmony with the feelings of those who visit the War Memorial in the spirit of a visit to a sacred place.”