'Garden will be memorial for whole town' - care home's Covid-19 tribute

Jo Sheldrake planting the first lavender shrub in the new memorial garden at Hadleigh Nursing Home

Jo Sheldrake planting the first lavender shrub in the new memorial garden at Hadleigh Nursing Home - Credit: Kingsley Healthcare

Work has started on a memorial garden at a Hadleigh care home, as a permanent tribute to people from the town who died from Covid-19.

Hadleigh supermarket worker Jo Sheldrake, who has led a campaign for a memorial bench in the town, was asked to symbolically plant the first lavender shrub.

Mrs Sheldrake, whose father Eric Mee was among the earliest UK victims of the pandemic, said: “I am sure the garden will be very much appreciated. People will love the setting and the peace and quiet.”

Landscape designers Lauren Aldridge and Danielle Homer with Hadleigh Nursing Home manager Jan Seal and Jo Sheldrake

From left, landscape designers Lauren Aldridge and Danielle Homer of Happy Homes Norfolk with Hadleigh Nursing Home manager Jan Seal and Jo Sheldrake - Credit: Kingsley Healthcare

Hadleigh was one of the hardest-hit areas in the whole country during the pandemic, and it was reported in March the town had lost 62 people to the disease over the year since March 2021.

The town's care homes were badly hit and Hadleigh Nursing Home lost a number of residents.

Landscapers are at work on the garden at the home in Friars Road, which will be a quiet, reflective area for the whole community.

Jan Seal, manager at the home, run by Kingsley Healthcare, said: “This memorial garden will bring to reality the wishes of my staff.

Landscapers at work on the new memorial garden being created at Hadleigh Nursing Home

Landscapers at work on the new memorial garden being created at Hadleigh Nursing Home - Credit: Kingsley Healthcare

“The height of the Covid pandemic was a really awful time. A lot of my staff are quite young and it was almost too much for them. However, it brought us all together and made us stronger as a team.

“We wanted to create a garden as a memorial for the whole town, not just our staff, residents and families.”

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The garden will have log seating with the poignant inscriptions: “As we sit we remember” and “Let the sun shine through”.

Some of the features of the new memorial garden being created at Hadleigh Nursing Home

Some of the features of the new memorial garden being created at Hadleigh Nursing Home - Credit: Kingsley Healthcare

There will also be a central pergola with seating and tables, allowing people to look over a rockery and stone water feature.

And there will be trellis panels at the side, where roses and jasmine plants can climb and create a fragrant arch.

The garden will be officially opened in the early summer and it is intended to hold an annual remembrance event.

Landscaper Danielle Homer, who runs Happy Homes Norfolk with Lauren Aldridge, said: “It is the first memorial garden we have designed and we are really pleased to be undertaking the project.”  
 

A poignant message in the memorial garden being created at Hadleigh Nursing Home

A poignant message in the memorial garden being created at Hadleigh Nursing Home - Credit: Kingsley Healthcare

Hadleigh Nursing Home manager Jan Seal with Jo Sheldrake in the memorial garden which is being created

Hadleigh Nursing Home manager Jan Seal with Jo Sheldrake in the memorial garden which is being created - Credit: Kingsley Healthcare

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