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Faith makes her mark on Covid-19 memorial

Faith makes her mark on Covid-19 memorial

by Sirhowy Valley Crematorium

Faith makes her mark on Covid-19 memorial

A schoolgirl whose ambition is to become a writer and illustrator will have a piece of her artwork featured on a Covid-19 memorial stone at four crematoria in Wales.

Westerleigh Group, the UK’s largest independent owner and operator of cemeteries and crematoria, announced last year it planned to create Covid-19 memorial gardens at most of its sites in England, Scotland and Wales.

Westerleigh issued an open invitation for people of all ages and backgrounds to submit ideas for a design to be etched onto a stone obelisk which will form the centre-piece of each garden.

Faith Williams, aged 11 from Newport, said she was “very excited and happy” when she found out her design had been chosen as the winner for Westerleigh’s Wales region.

Westerleigh Group is choosing six designs overall, one for each of its regions, so designers had an opportunity – if they wished – to incorporate something relevant to their region in their entries.

Faith said: “My grandmother, Hannah Parker, showed me this competition and I was very interested. I enjoy art and had lots of ideas for the memorial.

“I felt it was important to remember those who lost their lives to Coronavirus and those who have helped others.

“My design includes the Welsh dragon, from the Welsh flag. Above the dragon is a rainbow, which represents the NHS and key workers and is a message of hope. At the top is a heart, which represents the families, friends and communities supporting each other.

“I was inspired by all the good coming from this pandemic, like all the NHS and key workers who have been helping us all.

“The idea for the design came to me quite quickly but putting it down on paper took longer and the dragon took a while because it is complicated to draw.”

Faith’s mum, Cath Williams, said: “I am very proud of Faith as she works hard at everything she does and she spent time thinking about the design and what it represented to her.

“I am delighted that her work will be shown throughout Wales as a memorial to those who have lost their lives to Covid-19 and to enable future generations to learn about it as part of our history.”

Charlotte Curtis, Director of Wellbeing (Year 7) at Bassaleg Comprehensive School, said: “Faith’s design perfectly captures the impact of the pandemic, the importance of the NHS and a sense of how strongly the community has come together to get through this.

“As a Year 7 pupil, I think it is inspiring that Faith’s design is being forever etched in the memorial obelisks, and it represents how this pandemic has affected all age groups.

“Faith is such an impressive young lady in all aspects and we will be sure to take a trip to visit the memorial gardens when we can.”

Roger Mclaughlan, Chief Executive Officer of Westerleigh Group, said: “We would like the memorial gardens to provide permanent, tranquil places for people to visit to remember loved ones who lost their lives during the pandemic and also to remember and reflect on those who have sacrificed so much to help others during the coronavirus crisis. 

“We decided early on that we wanted local people to help shape how the gardens would look, so that each of them would become something of real significance to our local communities.

“We were overwhelmed by the creativity shown by the many people who submitted their imaginative designs and the judging process was a moving experience as it was clear that a lot of heartfelt thought had been put into each entry.

“I would like to congratulate Faith for her winning design and am looking forward to seeing how it looks in the memorial gardens at our crematoria in Wales.”

Faith’s design will be etched onto the black polished granite stone monuments which will be placed in the memorial gardens at Westerleigh Group’s crematoria at Aberystwyth, Langstone Vale, Llanelli and Sirhowy Valley.

Westerleigh Group hopes to install the Covid-19 memorials at all its sites during June, ready to open for the public to visit in July.