Llanelli care home opens garden in memory of 36 residents that died during the pandemic

'It's hit everybody again remembering everybody that has passed away and how many there was.' Staff at Ty Mair Care home were emotional during the ceremony.

A care home in Llanelli which lost 36 residents during the pandemic has opened a memorial garden for people to remember their loved ones.

Staff and families managed to raise £5000 to open the garden and create a plaque to honour the 36 residents who died during the last 18 months.

A ceremony was held at Ty Mair care home to remember those who died. Residents, family members and staff gathered together to officially open the garden.

The Manager of Ty Mair, Rachel Jones said the staff had planned to create the space for over a year.

She said: "Five residents had officially lost their lives due to Covid but because we were hit so hard and so fast there was a lot of residents who passed away before testing was available with the signs and symptoms of Covid.

"It's been a long time coming. We first had thoughts of setting up this memorial garden last year when we were in the midst of our Covid outbreak here.

"And it's something we've been working hard to develop since then so for this to happen today it really had been a long time coming."

Residents and staff released memorial balloons at the end of the service. Credit: Ty Mair Care home

Llanelli's veteran association attended the ceremony to perform The Last Post in tribute to the many lives lost.

Reflecting on the last two years, senior carer Lauren Andrews felt as though she and the staff 'hadn't stopped'.

"We haven't had time to think about it, because we've been working.

"So today it's hit everyone again remembering everyone that has passed away and how many there was," she said.

The care home had managed to raise £5000 to open the space-a place for people to remember those who had died. Credit: Ty Mair Care Home

When Covid-19 first broke out in Ty Mair many carers were faced with the difficult choice of deciding whether to continue to care for residents and not be able to see friends and family or not work at the care home altogether.

Some staff left their families and lived at Ty Mair for weeks or months at a time to reduce the spread of the virus.

Despite this sacrifice, many residents still died and families and staff are still recovering.

Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters MS said: "There's a real sense of family spirit here. Whenever I come here it's reminded me of a Blackpool BnB rather than a care home.

"So when the crisis hit there was a very deep sense of relationship here already and the staff really threw themselves at it and I was in touch with a number of them throughout it hit them deeply."