In a heartbreakingly beautiful tribute to hundreds of thousands people who have died from Covid-19, a half-kilometre-long National Covid Memorial Wall on the South Bank outside of St. Thomas’ Hospital was hand-painted with red hearts for each life lost to the pandemic.
The mural was organised by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice, a campaign group dedicated to supporting bereaved families who have lost loved ones to the novel coronavirus. The group’s members, with the help of 1,500 volunteers, worked in socially-distanced groups of six to paint the hearts one by one in April 2021—and are now repainting faded hearts and messages to maintain the wall. New hearts have been added daily as the pandemic continues. In the first 10-days of the memorial’s existence alone, 150,000 hear-shaped tributes were added.
In a public crowdfunding campaign, Matt Fowler, co-founder of the organisation, explains: “Each heart represents someone who was loved. Someone who was lost too soon to Covid-19.” He adds: “Every heart is hand-drawn and unique – just like the loved ones we mourn.”
Now, a petition has been created that aims to ensure this memorial stays permanent. It’s already garnered 106,717 signatures and counting, and you can add your name to it here. The 500-metre wall is now being looked after by volunteers, but has not yet received permanent status, and this petition hopes to change that.
The beautiful tribute invites all those affected by loss to share their grief through the display of love that the National Covid Memorial Wall represents. More than 200 Members of Parliament, as well as London Mayor Sadiq Khan, previously joined calls to make the memorial permanent. A digital version is available for virtual walkthroughs, accompanied by audio clips sharing personal stories of those who have passed. You can find it here.
View and sign the petition here.