Prime Minister pledges to pursue permanent national coronavirus memorial

Laura Parnaby, PA
·2-min read

The Prime Minister has pledged to pursue a permanent national memorial to remember the victims of the coronavirus pandemic.

Boris Johnson told the Downing Street press conference on Thursday the Government will “certainly be pursuing” the creation of a tribute, but Number 10 said there are “no further details” yet on what this might look like and when it will be unveiled.

Mr Johnson also said he would be marking the first anniversary of the lockdown on March 23.

Mr Johnson told the Downing Street briefing on Thursday: “On the anniversary, of course I’ll be marking it, as I’m sure millions of others will around the country.

“And on the idea for a national memorial, yes, we will certainly be pursuing that, and a lot of good suggestions have already come in, and you’ll be hearing more about that in due course.”

The Prime Minister has previously backed plans for a national day of reflection marking the anniversary of the first coronavirus lockdown.

The end of life charity Marie Curie is planning a day of reflection on March 23 to remember those who have died – exactly a year since the UK was first told to stay at home.

It will include a minute’s silence at 12pm followed by a bell toll, and people are being encouraged to stand on their doorsteps at 8pm with phones, candles and torches to signify a “beacon of remembrance”.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced in November that 33 blossoming trees representing each of the capital’s boroughs will form the centrepiece of a new public garden at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to commemorate those who have died in the capital the impact the virus has had on the city.

Making the announcement, he said: “This public garden of blossom trees will be a permanent reminder of the lives that have been lost, a tribute to every single key worker, and a symbol of how Londoners have stood together to help one another.”

On Tuesday, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced plans for two new woodlands in north and south Wales to act as permanent memorials “where families and others can come to remember all those we have lost”.

A total of 125,926 people have died with coronavirus in the UK, according to the Government’s latest figures.