Posted: Wed 28th Jun 2023

Covid memorial unveiled at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jun 28th, 2023

The first in a series of outdoor seating areas commemorating the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which claimed more than 1,600 lives in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, has been unveiled at Morriston Hospital. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The circular dry-stone walls, with timber benches, have in-laid tiles reflecting the thoughts of NHS staff, members of the public and schoolchildren. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

They have been built at Singleton Hospital, Neath Port Talbot Hospital and Cefn Coed Hospital, as well as Morriston. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Swansea Bay University Health Board said they would provide quiet outdoor spaces for staff, patients and visitors, serve as memorials for those who died, and pay tribute to the tireless efforts of NHS staff during the pandemic. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The initiative was led by health board heritage lead officer Martin Thomas, who said: “The project honours and remembers those who lost their lives, while recognising frontline workers who put patients’ lives first.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Welsh artist Nigel Talbot and dry stone waller Allan Jones played a key role, with input also from the University of the Third Age. The four memorials cost £100,000 and were funded by NHS Charities Together. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Children from Ysgol Gynradd Glyncollen and Cwmrhydyceirw Primary School attended the launch event at Morriston Hospital, helping Swansea Bay’s director of public health, Keith Reid, plant a tree behind one of the seating areas. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“It’s very apparent this has been an important journey for staff as the consultation process and ceramic workshops have given our staff a moment to pause and reflect on what has been the most challenging of time for them, and for the NHS,” said Dr Reid. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The health board said that according to the Office for National Statistics over 1,600 people have died in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot after acquiring Covid, up to the beginning of June this year. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

It added that antibody testing suggested that 80% of the Swansea Bay population have had Covid. More than one million vaccinations have been administered. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Health board chairwoman Emma Woollett said of the new outdoor spaces: “It is very important that we mark the experience of Covid in a meaningful way.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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