A memorial to commemorate those who have died of Covid-19 is the next step in helping people engage with the process of grieving, the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral has said.
As part of the online memorial project Remember Me, and in partnership with the Daily Mail, a campaign has been launched to raise £2.3 million to build a memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
Remember Me, led by St Paul’s Cathedral and supported by the Prince of Wales, has more than 7,300 names of those who have died as a result of the pandemic since it launched in May last year.
It is hoped that the campaign will prompt others to add the names of their loved ones.
The Dean of St Paul’s, the Rev Dr David Ison, said the physical memorial at the cathedral will “anchor” the online book in a place where significant events and people have been commemorated for many centuries.
He told BBC Breakfast on Saturday: “We have been helping people who have come here to be able to engage in that process of grieving and having the online memorial back has been a way of doing that.
“Having a physical memorial now is taking the next step in being able to make that happen.”
Dr Ison said the origin of the memorial came from people not being able to come together and added: “The whole genesis of this was because people were not able to come together, not able to be in a physical place, so that’s why we did the online book.
“This is enabling people to take that together, the online and the physical, so we have a memorial which can remember literally thousands and thousands of people in a way that chiselling people on a piece of stone or even writing in a physical book you can’t do.”
He said that the online memorial allows members of the public to call up a person’s photograph and short epitaph written by their family or friends, as a way of inspiring reflection or prayer.
The portico memorial has been designed by Oliver Caroe, surveyor of the fabric of the cathedral, who lost his mother to Covid-19 aged 81 on April 5 last year.
Geordie Greig, editor of the Daily Mail, said: “Thousands of people in Britain have lost a loved one as a result of the Covid pandemic and it is right that we remember this tragic death toll.
“A memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral is a fitting way to remember those who have died.”
The first 5,000 people who donate more than £25 to the fund will receive a memorial candle and those donating more than £50 will receive an annual Friends of St Paul’s membership.
To donate, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/remember-me-physical-memorial