THE FIRST MINISTER OF WALES, Mark Drakeford, has announced the creation of commemorative woodlands in memory of those who have died from coronavirus. Two new woodlands will be planted – one in north Wales and one in south Wales – as a symbol of Wales’ resilience during the pandemic and of regeneration and renewal as the new woodlands grow.
It is hoped they will be places of commemoration where families and friends can remember lost loved ones. The woodlands will also be locations where the public will be able to reflect on the pandemic and the huge impact it has had on our lives.
The woodlands will be planted with a range of tree species, making them resilient to a changing environment; a fitting symbol of the strength the people of Wales have shown over the past year. Making the announcement on 16 March 2021, the First Minister said: “Today, we mark a deeply sad anniversary as we remember the first person in Wales to die from coronavirus. Since that day too many people have been taken too soon. We remember them today and keep them in our hearts and our minds. Today I am announcing the creation of two commemorative woodlands – one in north Wales and one in south Wales – as permanent living memorials to all those who have died.
These woodlands will grow into natural spaces of reflection, where families and others can come to remember all those we have lost. The pandemic has cast a long shadow on all our lives over the last year, but we can also look to the future with hope.”
The locations of the two sites will be announced shortly and Natural Resources Wales will engage with local communities to plan and design the woodlands.
Clare Pillman, CEO Natural Resources Wales said: “Our woodlands play a vital role in our environment and communities and are powerful, poignant symbols of life and memory. The new commemorative woodlands will provide a living, growing memorial that will honour the memory of all of those who have sadly lost their lives to coronavirus.
“In addition to being a symbolic representation of Wales’ resilience during the pandemic, the woodlands will also provide a safe, quiet and accessible place where families can come to visit and remember their loved ones.”
The First Minister also announced there will be a National Coronavirus Commemorative Event broadcast on BBC One Wales and S4C at 5pm on 23 March.
* Source: Welsh Government