Cherry tree plantings among activities to mark one-year anniversary of first Covid-19 lockdown

Cherry blossom trees are being planted in all 16 wards of the borough and St Helens and Newton-le-Willows cemeteries as part of local activities marking the one-year anniversary of the first Covid-19 lockdown on Tuesday 23 March.

These ornamental trees bearing memorial plaques will flourish in remembrance of all those who have sadly died during the last year, and in honour of the local people who have worked tirelessly in aid of the coronavirus pandemic response.

St Helens Borough will also join the nation on this day of reflection by backing charity Marie Curie’s plan for a minute’s silence at noon and a doorstep vigil at 8pm, with residents encouraged to stand at their doors with a light – a candle, a torch, even your phone – to remember someone who has died and show your support to people going through a bereavement.

Supporting the vigil, prominent buildings and landmarks will also be illuminated yellow across the UK, including the Steve Prescott Bridge and St Helens Town Hall.

The council is also promoting its online book of condolence, where people can post photos, poems or simply share their thoughts or prayers about lost loved ones.

A spokesperson for St Helens Borough Council said “This has been an incredibly difficult year for all of us, but especially all those who have lost loved ones and who have not been able to pay tribute to them in the way they would have wanted. Our thoughts go out to these families.

“To mark the one-year anniversary of the first coronavirus lockdown we will remember those who have sadly lost their lives by joining in the national day of reflection and lighting local landmarks as a beacon of remembrance. We have also planted 18 beautiful cherry trees in every ward across the borough and in St Helens and Newton-le-Willows cemeteries as a lasting memorial.

“We are also planning to honour our local NHS heroes by proposing at the Council meeting on Wednesday 14 April to bestow our highest honour – the Freedom of the Borough – on St Helens & Knowsley Hospital Trust, for all that they have done up to this moment and will do in the weeks and months ahead in the fight against Covid-19.

“As the fight against Covid continues we want to express our heartfelt thanks to keyworkers and essential services who have kept the country moving through the lockdowns, and to residents and businesses for enduring all the sacrifices and hardships of this year.

“Finally, I ask that you join us with your neighbours at noon on Tuesday 23 March to observe a minute’s silence and, if you feel able to, a doorstep vigil at 8pm the same day, to honour those we’ve lost and to reflect on the challenges that we have all overcome together.”

The full list of cherry tree locations is as follows:

St Helens Cemetery
Newton-le-Willows Cemetery
Billinge & Seneley Green – Bankes Park
Blackbrook – Sankey Valley, near pond area
Bold – King George V playing fields, Sutton Manor
Earlestown – Wharf Road, Sankey Valley
Eccleston – Broadway/Springfield Lane
Haydock – King George V playing fields
Moss Bank – Kentmere Park
Newton-le-Willows – Mesnes Park
Parr – Gaskell Park
Rainford – Spinney Park, Old Hall Estate
Rainhill – Warrington Road
St Helens Town Centre – Fosters Park
Sutton – Sutton Park
Thatto Heath – Sherdley Park
West Park – Taylor Park
Windle – Victoria Park

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