A new council-backed project to remember all those affected by COVID could go ahead in the next few days if its fundraising target is met.
Supported by Leicestershire County Council and Leicester City Council, the ambitious Watermead Memorial Walk would see some 58 trees and 16 benches installed to make a trail joining the north and south sides of the park.
As the deadline for the crowdfund looms closer, the Watermead Memorial Walk project team is making a final plea to the people of Leicester and Leicestershire to help them raise £61,247 by the end of this month.
The initiative, which launched at the beginning of December, has attracted more than 70 supporters so far, with many individuals and families pledging in memory of loved ones.
One person keen to support the project is Roo Peake, member of the Leicester Masaya Link Group. She said: “When one of our long-time trustees died in March of COVID, we wanted to celebrate his life. Michael Gerard was a passionate musician, environmentalist and educator.
“When we heard about the opportunity to help contribute toward the Watermead Memorial Walk, we jumped at the chance because why have one tree when we can share a forest?
“Michael might not have a plaque with his name on but he is in our memories and when we walk around the Watermead Park, he will be in our thoughts for years to come.
“Donations are anything from £2 so it’s an affordable expression to celebrate a fabulous human being that we cared so much about and we would encourage others to join in the Crowdfunding campaign to celebrate their loved ones too!”
Local businesses have been involved too such as Dunelm Soft Furnishings Ltd, Broxap, The Art Department and Fortem Solutions.
Janice Dunn, Head of Community at Dunelm Soft Furnishings Ltd, said: “At Dunelm, we’re always looking for ways we can help our local communities.
“When we were approached for support with the memorial walk, we were more than happy to donate 20 trees to the project.
“The memorial walk is such a lovely way to recognise the difficult times we currently find ourselves in and will provide a beautiful spot to remember all those affected by Covid-19.”
Mick Williamson, Managing Director at Fortem Solutions, said: “We are proud to support such a wonderful project which is not only beneficial to the environment but also to those in the local community.
“The challenges of 2020 have affected us all, which is why it’s so important to look back and reflect on how we worked together and supported each other in such uncertain times.”
The new tree-lined memorial trail, which will provide a space for reflection and remembrance for all those affected by coronavirus, will be maintained by the county and city council, who have already pledged to cover maintenance costs of the project.
The hope is that, together with communities and businesses, many will be able to add a personal connection to an environmentally conscious project that will continue to serve for generations to come.
More information about the Watermead Memorial Walk can be found on its fundraising page at www.spacehive.com/watermead-memorial-walk
The new trees would be planted in February and March 2021, with the interpretation boards expected to be installed in the spring.
People are being asked to pledge their donations now, although no money will be taken until February 2021.
The minimum pledge that can be made is £2.
Donations will only be taken, if the campaign reaches its target by 31 January 2021.
Leicestershire County Council News 29/01/21