Remembrance is the main purpose of the Forests of Memories. We will plant, at a minimum, a tree for every life lost in the UK because of Covid-19. We have previously explained the overall plans for the Forest but today we can explain more detail on how loved ones lost will be remembered in the Forest by dedicating a tree for them, and what will be given as part of that dedication.
A reminder of why we are planting a Forest
During the Pandemic we came together as a society to protect each other from physical harm, from the Coronavirus. The latest lockdown measures are part of that effort. But what are we doing collectively right now about the emotional and mental wellness of people as a society?
Clap-for-carers is gone, Covid-19 infection and death rates are now reported just as statistics and supporting the bereaved and those impacted by lockdown seem to have been turned into a political issue rather than a humanitarian one.
The is a time of national humanitarian tragedy on an immense scale. Now is the time when we must begin to act collectively to support each other. It is the time for us all to give public support to the bereaved with national unity, and for us all to demonstrate compassion towards those whose lives have been impacted because of this pandemic. The Forest of Memories is being grown as a symbol of national support for all those impacted by Covid-19 and as a symbol of recovery to coincide with when it is opened next year when the pandemic will be over (as experts believe).
The Forest of Memories will be grown from the love of those we lost because of Covid-19, from compassion for those who have endured physical or mental wellness issues, and in celebration of the ordinary people who continue to overcome adversity and personal challenges during the pandemic.
A tree for every life lost because of Covid-19
A key principle in the Forest of Memories project is to ensure a tree is planted symbolically for every loved one lost. A symbol of support from our nation to show we care about those we lost and the bereaved who have suffered during the pandemic, and in a way that can be a lasting symbol of remembrance.
To us, that means a tree for every life lost because of an infection of Covid-19, but also the lives that have been lost because of lockdown impacts. We should also not forget those who died alone because friends and relatives could not be with them, they too deserve our collective compassion. These are all part of the human tragedy that the UK has endured and is a number much higher than the publicised ones for Covid-19 related deaths of 48,475 (and counting).
(Up to 30th Oct) 54,678 people died in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate and about 65,000 excess deaths had been recorded in the UK in 2020. Excess deaths can be accounted for as deaths because of lockdown measures even where the deceased did not contract Covid-19. Countless thousands of others died alone.
Source: Figures taken from Office of National Statistics data
We believe that all these people are equally tragic victims of this Pandemic, and they should all be remembered equally.
The Forest of Memories will plant a tree for each of these people, and we will also be supporting an International day in remembrance of all the loved ones lost because of Covid-19. We will be launching our support for that campaign this month.
How will dedicating a tree in the Forest of Memories work?
To dedicate a tree to a loved one in the Forest of Memories is straight forward, just complete the form here. When we launch our planned ‘Memory-Trees’ service we plan to provide to everyone who has dedicated a tree the following (without any charge):
1. An online ‘Memory-Book’ account will be able to be created for each loved one lost. You will be able to add memories from family and friends of the loved one to capture shared memories that will never fade. We are planning to provide that ability to create these memories from pictures, words, videos, or even music.
2. The loved one’s name will be entered onto a memorial wall. There will be a Grove of Love and Loss in the Forest of Memories. This will be a forest garden of remembrance. In that Garden will be a Memorial Wall with the name of every loved one that has had a tree dedicated to them in the Forest of Memories.
3. A tree will be symbolically planted in the Forest of Memories for the loved one free of charge.
We are also working on a way we could a) give people specific trees with exact locations, and b) provide dedicated memorial plaques for these trees. There are however some issues on costs in giving these last two things free of charge that we still need to address. The exact details of how we could address them will be put to everyone who dedicates a tree to get their views. They are of course who the Forest of Memories is primarily for and (as we have done from the beginning of this project) we will be guided by the views of what the bereaved want to see in their Forest of Memories.
Spread the word
If you have lost a loved one during the pandemic and would like to dedicate a tree to them in the Forest of Memories in the way we have outlined here, just complete a simple tree dedication form. But also, please do spread the word to others you so they too can dedicate a tree for their loved ones. We believe this will be a fitting way to remember loved ones, and at the same time help fight climate change and create UK biodiversity. We hope you think so too.