Princess Royal opens garden to commemorate Covid-19 victims

Laura Parnaby, PA
·2-min read

The Princess Royal has opened a garden to commemorate loved ones lost to coronavirus, during one of three visits to hospitals in Gloucestershire.

The Queen and late Duke of Edinburgh’s only daughter spoke to NHS staff about their work during the pandemic, at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital (GRH), Wotton Lawn Hospital, and Cheltenham General Hospital (CGH) on Wednesday.

At GRH, the princess opened the tribute garden designed by Danny Clarke, known as The Black Gardener, which also marks the contribution of NHS staff and carers.

Anne then saw hundreds of commemorative wire dandelions that have been placed in an open green space at CGH, each bearing a tribute to a loved one who lost their life to Covid-19, and laid a dandelion of her own.

The Princess Royal visiting Cheltenham General Hospital (CGH) on Wednesday (Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust/PA).
The Princess Royal views wire dandelions, which commemorate those who have died with coronavirus, at the Cheltenham General Hospital (Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust/PA)

Alexandra Hayes, respiratory high care ward manager at GRH, said: “Her royal highness was genuinely interested in our work and was very grateful for all that we’ve done over the last year.

“While these have been difficult times for so many, today’s visit was uplifting and it’s something I’ll remember for a long time.”

Dr Hina Iftikhar, chief registrar at GRH, said: “It’s incredibly important for families and friends of loved ones lost to Covid-19 to have a space where they can visit and reflect.

“The pandemic has taken its toll on so many of us and in such different ways.

“Many of my colleagues both here in our hospitals and in the community have had the most challenging of times. I’m grateful that the Princess Royal recognised this today.”

Atique Miah, Muslim chaplain at GRH and CGH, said: “So many people in our community have been affected by this pandemic.

“The effect will be felt in the months and years that follow.

“Yet there is hope, and as we emerge from the last year I’m struck by the compassion, kindness and generosity shown by the community during a time of great personal tragedy and difficulty.”