Birmingham City Council recently announced that Castle Vale will be the first of its ten parliamentary constituencies to gain a memorial garden paying tribute to those who have died of COVID-19. Land off Park Lane in Castle Vale will be the proposed location for the tribute garden in Erdington.
Simon Wilson, CEO of The Pioneer Group, commented on the news:
We are really pleased that Castle Vale has been selected as the first of the ten sites across the city to have a dedicated place where people can remember those who’ve lost their lives to the pandemic.
Birmingham has recorded more Covid-related deaths than any other council in England, currently, 3,237.
The first garden will be opened in recognition of the late, much-loved, Jack Dromey, the MP for Erdington from 2010 until his death in January 2022. Mr Dromey worked both in the city and nationally in support of those families experiencing bereavement as a result of the pandemic.
Early ideas for the memorial gardens were unveiled in March 2021. The final location list was compiled by the council following a consultation process with local residents, community groups, parks staff and local councillors.
The designs for the gardens were drawn up by the council’s award-winning Chelsea Flower Show team. The central feature to the sites will be a ‘pebble bed’ where people can write down the name of someone lost to COVID-19 on one of the stones. The gardens will include benches for an opportunity to reflect upon and discuss memories of their loved ones.
Local communities will have input into their respective memorials by working with the council to select plant and shrub varieties.
The designated areas for the remaining nine memorial landmarks are:
- Grove Park, Edgbaston
- Highbury Park, Kings Heath
- Ward End Park, Ward End
- Phillips Street Park, Ladywood
- Barcheston Recreation Ground, Northfield
- George’s Park, Perry Barr
- Dawberry Fields, Kings Heath
- Rectory Park, Sutton Coldfield
- Stechford Recreation Ground, Yardley
Jane Roche, Operations Manager at Spitfire Services, has campaigned for the gardens on behalf of Castle Vale and concluded:
I am really pleased that the first memorial garden will be on Castle Vale, Jack and I had campaigned together since last year to secure the garden. He knew how much it would mean to people that have lost someone to COVID-19 and it will be a lovely place for them to sit and reflect and think of their loved ones.
For anyone that has lost a loved one due to COVID-19 and would like their name to be memorised at the garden please send their name to FranCruise@castlevale.org.uk by the 28th February 2022.