Hadleigh woman who lost dad to Covid creates 'remembrance hedge'

Jo Sheldrake, from Hadleigh, has created a memorial hedge in memory of her dad who died from COVID-1

Jo Sheldrake, from Hadleigh, has created a memorial hedge in memory of her dad who died from Covid-19 - Credit: Danielle Booden

A supermarket worker from Hadleigh, whose father died nearly a year ago from coronavirus, has created a 'remembrance hedge' for people to reflect and remember loved ones. 

Jo Sheldrake, from Hadleigh, has created a memorial hedge in memory of her dad who died from COVID-1

Jo Sheldrake, from Hadleigh, has created a memorial hedge in memory of her dad who died from Covid-19 - Credit: Danielle Booden

Jo Sheldrake lost her father Eric Mee, from Ipswich, back in April of last year aged 86, making him one of the first 900 people to die in the UK from the disease. 

Eric Mee

Eric Mee died of Covid-19 at the age of 86. - Credit: Jo Sheldrake

To remember her father and other victims, Mrs Sheldrake decided to create a hedge of remembrance outside her home in Cranworth Road, Hadleigh, near the popular railway walk. 

There are now around 10 to 12 hearts and butterflies on the hedge, all with names and tributes to loved ones. 

Mrs Sheldrake said she has had a lot of positive responses since she created the hedge on the day of national reflection on Tuesday, March 23 - a year on from the first lockdown. 

Janet Mee, pictured with Karen, Jo and Bev, the family of Eric Mee (right) who died of Covid-19. 

Janet Mee, pictured with Karen, Jo and Bev, the family of Eric Mee (right) who died of Covid-19. - Credit: Jo Sheldrake

She has also put a picture of her father in the window and said it has been nice to see people stop and read the messages. 

"It's coming up to a year since my father died and Tuesday was really hard," explained Mrs Sheldrake. 

"I went to the Co-op where I work for the minute silence and then visited St Mary's Church and lit a candle.

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"There were lots of people there socially distanced to remember their loved ones."

The remembrance hedge is only a temporary solution, as Mrs Sheldrake has plans to create a memorial bench in the town. 

This has been backed by Hadleigh Town Council, Suffolk County Council and a number of local businesses. 

She said there has been lots of support for her idea, and many people feel strongly about having a permanent memorial in the town. 

Meanwhile, proposals to create a 'healing' woods in Suffolk in memory of coronavirus victims has been overwhelmingly backed by the community.


The memorial hedge in Hadleigh created by Jo Sheldrake who lost her dad to COVID-19. Picture: Daniel

Neighbours in Hadleigh have taken the opportunity to remember those lost to coronavirus - Credit: Danielle Booden

The council launched a survey on the plans last October, with the results finding more than 90% of respondents were in favour of the scheme.


The memorial hedge in Hadleigh created by Jo Sheldrake who lost her dad to COVID-19. Picture: Daniel

The memorial hedge gives families a chance to honour their loved ones - Credit: Danielle Booden

Two-thirds of the 500-plus participants involved in the survey said their mental health and wellbeing had been negatively affected amid the pandemic.

The 'healing' woods project connects with the motion unanimously passed by the county’s councillors last week to commit to developing mental health support in Suffolk.

Suggestions for the locations of the woods are being sought and anyone with ideas is urged to contact the council.

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