Plan unveiled for Covid-19 memorial in Loughborough
Posted: Wed, 03 Mar 2021 06:49
A plan has been unveiled for a lasting memorial in Loughborough to mark the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on local communities.
The Hope Bell, revealed by the Loughborough Town Deal Board, would commemorate the lives lost to Covid-19, honour key workers who have helped battle the pandemic and be a symbol of hope for the future.
The Loughborough Town Deal Board, comprising organisations from across the town, has included the proposal in a multi-million bid for Government funding.
The Hope Bell would be part of a clock chime installation with four smaller bells, all made by Taylor's Bell Foundry in the town, the last major bell foundry in the country. Queen's Park is currently earmarked as a possible location.
Cllr Jonathan Morgan, co-chair of the Town Deal Board and leader of Charnwood Borough Council, said: "The pandemic has had a devastating impact on our community and we want to create something that could act as a focal point for remembrance and reflection while also being a symbol of hope.
"We also want to create something that is uniquely connected to our area and Loughborough has been synonymous with bells for hundreds of years."
Dr Nik Kotecha, co-chair of the Town Deal Board, said: "Sadly, hundreds of people in the area have lost their lives to Covid-19 and it is right that we come together as a community to find a way to remember those who have died. The Hope Bell would be a fitting way to do that.
"It would also be a way to honour the NHS and other key workers who have saved many other lives and kept the country going in one of its darkest times."
Cllr Jenny Bokor, lead member for Loughborough and chair of the Town Deal Member Reference Group, said: "The Hope Bell would be somewhere for people to remember their loved ones and we would hope to include a feature where people could leave messages or tributes to those who had lost their lives."
Jane Hunt, MP for Loughborough, said: "The Hope Bell is a uniquely Loughborough way of remembering the victims of this awful disease. Sadly, many people in our area have lost lives. Whilst remembering their memory, we also commemorate the key workers in our community who have helped us through these most difficult of times. The Hope Bell will also stand in their honour."
Michael Wilby, managing director of John Taylor and Co bellfoundry, said: "Having made the carillon as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the Great War, 100 years later we are honoured to be asked to cast another bell to commemorate those who lost their lives to the pandemic."
The Hope Bell installation could cost around £150,000 and the area it would sit in would also need landscaping. Some aspects of the project, such as messages left by people, could be funded by public subscription.
Various options are being considered but the Hope Bell could weigh up to a tonne and it is not anticipated it would be installed until 2022.
The Hope Bell is part of the Lanes and Links project within the Town Deal bid. The project aims to revitalise an open space within a deprived neighbourhood to improve community safety and encourage people to visit the area.
Queen's Park is also home to the Carillon Tower, the town's war memorial which has 47 Taylor bells.
The Loughborough Town Deal board involves a range of organisations, including Charnwood Borough Council, Loughborough University, Loughborough College, Love Loughborough, Leicestershire County Council, the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership, Charnwood Together Economy and Skills Group, local businesses and Loughborough MP Jane Hunt.
The Town Deal has put together a multi-million bid, called a Town Investment Plan, for government funding for a range of projects that seek to improve skills and boost job prospects, redefine the town centre to ensure it remains well-used and vibrant, improve the local environment and showcase the town's heritage.
The bid was submitted in October but has been revised as part of the ongoing process, allowing the addition of the Hope Bell proposal.
For more information about Loughborough Town Deal, visit www.loughboroughtowndeal.co.uk