Shropshire Star

Covid memorial garden sculpture unveiled at Telford Town Park

An eight-foot sculpture, created as a centre-piece for a Covid Memorial Garden, has been unveiled.

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The sculpture which has been unveiled at Telford's Covid Memorial Garden.

The piece of art, situated in the Telford Town Park-based garden, has been created by nationally acclaimed sculptor Joseph Hillier.

The artist said he had drawn inspiration from conversations with Telford and Wrekin residents who had been impacted by the pandemic.

"I’m very proud to have been part of this project and grateful to the people of Telford and Wrekin who allowed me to weave their stories into this piece," he said.

Artist Joe Hillier at Covid Memorial Garden Sculpture unveiling.

"It’s wonderful to see it in position – it sits so well in the space, surrounded by wild flowers and trees, with the lake in the background.

"I hope people will find the sculpture to be a fitting testament to such an important moment in all our lives and that the garden will be enjoyed by all Telford and Wrekin residents, including those seeking solace."

Councillor Carolyn Healy unveiled the sculpture on behalf of Telford & Wrekin Council which owns and manages the town park.

A ceremony took place to mark the unveiling of the sculpture.

She was joined by the Mr Hillier, and residents who had shared their experiences with him.

Members of the council’s teams and volunteers from Friends of Telford Town Park, all of whom have been involved in creating and maintaining the new memorial garden, also attended the event.

Telford’s Covid Memorial Garden was designed by the council’s biT team and installed earlier this year.

The sculpture added to Telford's Covid Memorial Garden.

It is located within Telford Town Park, beyond the Visitor Centre, near to the Dark Lane Car Park.

The garden features a variety of species of trees including oak, elm and alder, plus wild flower meadow areas, 11 benches spread across the garden and adjacent hillside, and views across Withy Pool.

Councillor Healy, the council's cabinet member for climate action, green spaces, heritage and leisure, said: “When we first came up with the idea of creating a Covid Memorial Garden, we knew we wanted a centre-piece that spoke for our community.

The sculpture added to Telford's Covid Memorial Garden.

“I’m so grateful to the residents who came forward to generously and bravely share their experiences with our sculptor, Joseph, who drew inspiration from their stories to create his piece of art.

“Huge thanks also to Joseph himself for creating such a wonderful sculpture with our community at its heart, and to the council teams and Friends of Telford Town Park volunteers who are so vital to the upkeep of our award-winning park and its gardens – the new memorial garden really is looking super in its first summer."

She added: “As a council we recognise the value of green spaces and are working hard to enhance them, both for visitors and for wildlife too. I’m delighted that the wild flowers sown in this garden are already helping bees and other pollinators, while the native tree species will support a wide range of wildlife, including white hairstreak butterflies.”

“I’m sure this beautiful nature-filled memorial garden and its centre-piece sculpture will bring real comfort to many of our residents for years to come.”

Telford resident, Sarah, who had shared her story with Joseph as part of the project, said: “This is a place where me and my children can remember my husband – their dad – and I’m so grateful to the council for creating the space. It is better than we could have imagined.”

Another resident who contributed to the project, Jill, said: “The sculpture is a focal point for everyone who’s lost someone or was badly affected by the pandemic. Joseph has created a very sensitive and poignant centre-piece for this garden which is both majestic and beautiful and one which symbolises our collective loss.”

Sam, another member of the project’s focus group, said: “A lot of us were locked down, so couldn’t be with our loved ones when they passed. This is a space where we can open up, and talk.”

Debbie, who was also impacted by the pandemic, said: “The garden is so beautiful and is going to mean so much for generations to come. It’s a place of reflection and love.”

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