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Garden to commemorate COVID-19 sacrifices in Workington

A garden is being created in Workington to remember the loss and sacrifice experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new outdoor space in Vulcan Park, between the park lodge and the old tennis courts, will feature a large monument as its centrepiece.  

The project is being undertaken by Workington Town Council and RAF General Engineering.

The council is proposing to call it Nightingale Garden and are asking the community for donations of painted pebbles. 

Workington mayor Janet King said: “The garden will be a space for quiet reflection as we move forward through this crisis. 

“It will act as a place of remembrance for those who we have lost and as a site of respect for the key workers who have sacrificed so much. 

“We are very grateful to RAF General Engineering Ltd and Steve Marshall for their extraordinary generosity at such a difficult time.”

The monument at the garden’s centre will be manufactured by Rafal Gibki, managing director of the engineering company and a design has now been chosen.

“We chose to manufacture this monument to give something back to the community, allowing local people to remember the changes which we have endured in 2020.

“We wanted to make sure all the sacrifice was not forgotten and we would also like to say a massive thank you for the support we have received as a business from the local community in this difficult, strange time.”

The hands in the monument’s design are meant to symbolise the hard work of key workers, the weekly clapping tribute, and how something as simple as washing your hands can be a vitally important action.

In addition to the monument, the space will incorporate painted stones from members of the public who wish to celebrate the work of key workers throughout the pandemic. 

Will Wilkinson, vice chairman of the council’s environment committee, said: “Many people have helped to brighten our public space with painted stones and pebbles over the past year. 

“Some people have created them to pass the time, some to boost morale, and others as acts of commemoration and remembrance. 

“We would be honoured to include any of these unique artworks in our garden of remembrance.”

A bright yellow donation box for the painted pebbles is now available near the outdoor gym in Vulcan Park from Monday to Friday. 

Donations will be collected by 4pm every day until the monument is built in the spring.