Trees to be planted to remember Covid crisis
By Nicky Carter - Reporter
TREES of remembrance are to be planted in three community spaces across Teesdale to stand as living memorials to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Barnard Castle Rotary Satellite E-club is planting the trees in Barnard Castle, Cockfield and Eggleston following a suggestion by Rotarian Godfrey Irving from Barnard Castle. Mr Iriving, who lost three members of his family during the pandemic, said he has been devastated by his losses, which were exacerbated by the restrictions.
He added: “We all have memories of that time. We have lost friends and family and we all have stories to tell.
“I have lost three people – a brother to Covid, my mother-in-law to dementia and a much-loved cousin who got cancer. We are looking at those dark times for a light and hope for the future and that is where the trees of remembrance come in – somewhere for people to visit and reflect.
“The trees will be a living monument, a memorial that is placed in or near churches to allow reflection for all these the dark days of 2020 and the subsequent part of this year.”
Residents who have been affected by the pandemic are invited to attend to the formal tree planting ceremony on Thursday, October 21, at St Mary’s Parish Church, in Barnard Castle, at 10.30am.
Town mayor Cllr Rima Chatterjee will officially plant a Rowan tree following a few words from Dr Robert Carter, who co-ordinated the vaccine programme at the Richardson Hospital, and Revd Canon Alec Harding.
Tea and coffee will be served in the church afterwards when there will be an opportunity for people to write their own prayers and leave flowers around a display. Mr Harding said: “I think there is a temptation to move on too quickly without recognising what people have lost.
“People haven’t been able to go to funerals and comfort each other – and the amount of loss has been immense and we can’t pretend that it didn’t happen.”
More informal tree planting ceremonies have also been arranged at the Holy Trinity Church, in Eggleston, on Thursday, October 28, and Glebe Garden, in Cockfield, on Friday, October 29.
Teesdale’s MP, Dehenna Davison, will pay her respects at the Barnard Castle tree on Friday, November 12, when she will be joined by Cllr Chatterjee, her consorts, other members of the town council as well as county councillor Ted Henderson and members of Barnard Castle School sixth form.