Special memorial for those who lost their lives to Covid in care homes

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Raveena Ghattaura

A memorial garden to remember those who have died from Covid-19 has opened at a care home in Suffolk.

The garden at Hadleigh Nursing home, run by the Kingsley Healthcare Group, is in recognition of the impact the virus has had on the town - one of the worst hit communities in the East for coronavirus deaths in care homes. 

Bridget Spooner is among the families who was at the opening of the memorial garden in Hadleigh.

Her mother died last November, four days before her 74th birthday: "To lose your mum and say goodbye to mum via a phone call and tell her that it was okay if it was her time to go was hard."

It is hope that the memorial garden will symbol of hope and honour for the whole community.

A string quartet performed at the memorial garden opening ceremony in Hadleigh Credit: ITV News Anglia

Since the start of the pandemic 94 people have died in care homes in the Babergh area of south Suffolk. Along with Tendring in Essex they are worst hit districts across the East of England for deaths in social care.

Hadleigh Nursing Home had 16 residents pass away, five in one day alone.

The manager Jan Seal said: "When you lose so many residents the kind felt empty, so hopefully we are building it up with the residents we got.

"Some of them lost friends, people they were used to sitting with at lunch.  It had a real impact.

"It's about trying to move forward from that, trying to let a little bit of sunshine back in now. We won't forget because this is what this is all about." 

The coronavirus memorial garden at Hadleigh Nursing Home in Suffolk Credit: ITV News Anglia

For Jo Sheldrake, the garden is particularly poignant; she's campaigned for a memorial since January. Her father Eric among the earliest victims of the pandemic

Jo said: "I think it will make a great difference because I think people need to reflect on what has happened.

"People haven't been able to have the funerals they want. We had 12 at my father's which was not good. Horrible.

"I think it will maybe help heal."

Across the Anglia region, the coronavirus pandemic has contributed to 3,684 deaths in care homes - around one fifth of the total of more than 17,400.

During the coronavirus pandemic, ITV News is bringing you a regularly updated podcast with information, advice and analysis that you can trust.

Coronavirus: What You Need To Know features ITV News specialist correspondents plus guests covering key topics in-depth about the virus, plus regular Q&As with your questions answered on how the outbreak is impacting all areas of our lives.

You can listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify - or listen using the player below.