COVID Memorial Wall: councillors back calls to make it permanent

Lambeth councillors have unanimously endorsed a motion calling for the National Covid Memorial Wall on the Thames Path in front of St Thomas' Hospital to be made permanent.

COVID Memorial Wall: councillors back calls to make it permanent

Lambeth councillors have backed the campaign by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice to make the National Covid Memorial Wall permanent.

The Memorial Wall is decorated with 150,000 hearts each representing someone in the UK who has lost their life to COVID-19.

"Lambeth Labour welcomes the creation of the memorial as a fitting and moving tribute to all those who have been lost to the pandemic, particularly in such a visible location in Waterloo and next to St Thomas' Hospital where so many have worked tirelessly for the last 18 months to protect us all from the pandemic," said Cllr Claire Holland, leader of Lambeth Council.

"We are pleased to work with the organisers and local partners on making this a permanent memorial, and we restate our firm support for their campaign here today.

"This comes at a time when restrictions are lifting, but cases are also rising. We have seen time and again the impact of the failure to properly control this virus by the government – and the actions of these families and the hearts on the wall are a tragic reminder of that. We must never be complacent about COVID-19, and we must always remember the terrible cost of this virus."

Matt Fowler, co-founder of COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice and who placed the first heart on the wall said: "They say grief is love with nowhere to go. The wall is where it goes.

"Lambeth Council have been hugely supportive of the memorial, recognising it as a place of remembrance, reflection and healing for hundreds of thousands across the country.

"We are delighted that the council is committed to helping ensure it remains a permanent site for us to remember our loved ones".

Last month Vauxhall MP Florence Eshalomi was one of the signatories of a cross-party letter to the prime minister in support of making the memorial a permanent feature of the South Bank.

"I visited the COVID Memorial Wall which is in the heart of my constituency by St Thomas' Hospital on the first day it was established," she said.

"Meeting family members and campaigners there, I was so moved by their dedication to ensure that we do not forgot the many lives lost during this pandemic.

"That is why I fully support their campaign to make this very personal and profound memorial permanent and I will continue to work with all the parties involved to make this happen."

At Wednesday night's council meeting the motion won the unanimous support of Lambeth's Labour, Green and Conservative councillors – but the Labour group voted down a Green amendment adding the name of Caroline Lucas to the list of Labour MPs who have backed the memorial wall.

Tags: Lambeth, Health, Politics & local government, South Bank

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