Fundraising begins for rainbow tribute following COVID-19 pandemic

Public and private sector organisations in Doncaster have launched a campaign to create a permanent memorial to honour the efforts of key workers, as well as providing a lasting memorial of those in our communities who have died of COVID-19 during the pandemic.

The proposed statue, which will stand nine feet tall, is being coordinated by Team Doncaster and will take pride of place within the centre of the town. It is hoped that, once complete, it will provide a suitable monument to the impact of the pandemic locally so that residents, as well as later generations, can reflect upon the handwork, sacrifice and loss experienced throughout 2020 and into 2021 as COVID-19 swept across the borough.

Local people will have the opportunity to get involved by donating a coloured heart which will be fixed to the monument making up the colours of the rainbow. Each will also bear a brief dedication to friends, family and loved ones, either in recognition of their efforts throughout the 12-month period, or instead in loving memory of someone sadly taken before their time.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, said: “The last year has been a year we’ll never forget. As a community, we’ve suffered heart break like never before and had to adapt to a very different way of living. Throughout this time, we have depended on our key workers to ensure that our essential services continue to function, and for that we will never be able to put into words the debt of gratitude we owe these individuals.

“As Team Doncaster, we want to pay tribute to these selfless efforts, as well as mark the sad passing of friends, family and loved ones who have been taken before their time. With our ‘Hearts for Doncaster’ memorial, we will create a lasting and loving monument to the sacrifices made during the past 12 months, creating a special place where, when it is safe to do so, we can come together to reflect upon our experiences throughout the pandemic, and remember those who we have lost.”

Created by the British Ironworks Centre, the memorial will have space for 5,000 hearts. Each ‘Heart’ can be created by a donation of £20, with all proceeds from the project to be directly reinvested in patient care and treatment at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals.

Richard Parker, Chief Executive of Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals said: “Local people can get involved in this project by dedicating a heart. Each of these can have a simple message of your choosing and will be a core part of the design of the memorial. Most importantly, any funds raised will be reinvested in local NHS services – on which so many of us have depended throughout the past year.

As of 24 February, 20,995 people within Doncaster have tested positive for COVID-19, with 800 sadly losing their life as a consequence of the illness. Using the same date range, health professionals at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) have cared for 3,063 patients symptomatic of the disease, having safely discharged 2,168 of them and 775 having sadly passed away.

To support the campaign and dedicate a heart to a keyworker or a loved one who is no longer with us, head to: https://www.dbth.nhs.uk/hearts-for-doncaster/

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