Aspiring artists, school children, retired people and creative folk of all ages in the East are being given a chance to have their names etched in history.
Design ideas are being invited to appear on the stone centre-piece obelisks of new COVID-19 memorial gardens which are being created at West Suffolk, Cromer, Cam Valley, Basildon, Forest Park, Barham and Charing crematoria.
The crematoria are run by Westerleigh Group, the UK’s largest independent owner of crematoria and cemeteries, who are building memorials in tranquil gardens at over 30 sites across the UK with members of the public invited to contribute to their design.
The memorial gardens will be a permanent tranquil place for people to visit and remember loved ones who died during the pandemic and pay tribute to those who sacrificed so much to help others who were sick, isolated or vulnerable.
A competition has been launched with people of all ages invited to create a suitable design which can be etched onto the stone obelisk, which will be the focal point of each memorial garden.
Each polished black granite monument will be set in a rainbow-coloured floral bed. The winning designs will be individually carved by Westerleigh’s highly-skilled stonemasons.
Each obelisk will include an inscription which reads: “This memorial has been placed to remember and recognise the lives and efforts of all affected by the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.”
Westerleigh is hoping to find seven designs to be etched onto the stone alongside the inscription, for use in different regions of the country. The creator of the winning design for each region will have a plaque with their name on attached to the memorial.
Regional Manager Astrud Matanle said: “Our sites have close links to their local communities and are places where people go to say goodbye to their loved ones and reflect on life.
“Everyone has been affected by the pandemic this year and we wanted to create permanent and lasting memorials in each of those communities. We wanted to enable people to get involved and help us with the design.
“The design itself can be full-colour but needs to be simple enough so that it can be carved onto stone, so some creative thinking is required.
“We expect rainbows to feature in some of the designs, but it really is a blank canvas. People can be as creative as they wish, just bearing in mind that the image will need to be recreated in stone.
“It might be that people choose to incorporate local landmarks into the design, to reflect their own region. It really is entirely up to them.
“The competition is open to anyone and everyone, whether you’re an artist or not, and no matter how old you are.”
Designs should be no bigger than A4 in size and must be submitted by Saturday October 31. After the closing date, a shortlist of final entries for each region will be drawn up and winners will be chosen.
Work is expected to start on the stone memorials later this year, with garden landscaping taking place in early Spring 2021, before opening shortly afterwards.
Entries can be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to: Design Competition, Westerleigh Group, Chapel View, Westerleigh Road, Westerleigh, Bristol BS37 8QP. Entrants should include their name, address and a telephone number so that they can easily be contacted if their design is chosen.