Local victims of coronavirus to be remembered in memorial tributes

Date published: 30 July 2020

A proposal to erect permanent commemorative sculptures in memory of residents who have died due to coronavirus was approved at a council meeting last week.

The proposal to erect some kind of memorial in each of the borough's townships - Rochdale, Middleton, Heywood and the Pennine villages - was approved at the virtual council meeting on 15 July.

The motion in full which was approved by councillors said:

'The council expresses its sincere condolences to the families and friends of all those residents of the borough who have lost their lives to the Coronavirus pandemic.

'The council agrees to investigate the creation of a permanent memorial to the victims in each of the borough's Townships. The council also pays tribute to all those dedicated health workers, carers, council and emergency staff who have put their lives on the line protecting others.

'The council also offers its heartfelt thanks to every volunteer across the borough who has supported the community response to the crisis and assisted our most vulnerable residents. Council also expresses its appreciation to all citizens of the borough for their sustained support for the various measures to prevent the spread of the virus.'

The idea for the tributes came from Rochdale councillor Faisal Rana and the motion received all-party support at the virtual council meeting.

Councillor Rana said: "The Coronavirus pandemic is the worst tragedy most people have suffered in their lifetime. It has devastated families and communities and changed the way we live, perhaps forever.

"Loved ones have been taken before their time. Essential workers such as doctors, nurses, care workers and even shop assistants gave their lives protecting and serving the public.

"Some have likened this crisis to World War Two. I think the least we can do is make sure those who have tragically died from the virus are never forgotten.

"That's why I have suggested a permanent memorial to the victims. There will be four in each of the townships of the borough so that residents and residents can easily get to see them. Work is starting soon on commissioning the sculptures and it is expected the names of the deceased will be included. The public will be consulted on the final designs and location of each of them.

"I would like to thank the council's Labour and Conservative leaders, Councillors Allen Brett and Ashley Dearnley for their support and for proposing the motion to the council meeting. I am sure there will be widespread public support for the memorials as a fitting and respectful way to remember all those who have so tragically lost their lives."

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