Covid commemoration project in Swansea Bay hospitals nears completion
A commemorative project marking the impact of the pandemic is close to completion across four Swansea Bay University Health Board sites.
The project is creating commemorative spaces for staff and patients to rest and reflect at Singleton, Morriston, Neath Port Talbot and Cefn Coed hospitals.
These spaces will also mark the incredible work of health board staff during the pandemic and have been sited outside in prominent locations so visitors and the public can also use them.
The spaces in each hospital consist of dry stone circular pods connected with timber benches and will also will feature clay tiles that have a drawing or word chosen by hospital staff to sum up their feelings about the pandemic.
Martin Thomas, Health Board Heritage Lead, who came up with the idea of the project, said: “The project will honour and remember those who lost their lives, along with recognising front line workers who put patients’ lives first. It will also capture the social solidarity and support our community gave to us.
“There is no doubt the Covid pandemic had, and continues to have, a huge impact on all of our lives.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have sadly lost colleagues while staff have lost family and friends.
“After seeking the opinions of staff, it was evident that quiet outdoor areas of reflection were needed across the health board’s sites in order to give everyone a chance to gather their thoughts and remember family, friends and colleagues lost during the pandemic.
“Our staff are the focal point of this project, and we want them to have an area to take themselves away from the working environment.
“We are delighted with how many staff took part in the creation of clay tiles for the project, and we’re really looking forward to seeing all four spaces once they are finished.”
Over 350 clay tiles have now been laminated onto stone and inserted into the commemorative features.
Award-winning dry stone waller Allan Jones led the construction along with sculptor Nigel Talbot.
The project’s workshops have also involved local school children and members of the University of the Third Age (U3A).
Each space is unique as the tiles designed specifically by staff feature in the site they are based.
With the help of the health board’s fundraising team, the project has been funded by NHS Charities Together, whose Covid 19 appeal was famously supported by Captain Sir Tom Moore, and all spaces are earmarked for completion by the end of October.
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What a brilliant idea. A positive and practical improvement to the hospital surroundings born out of sadness. A wonderful memorial.
I hope my Trust considers something similar.