First area of reflection to remember those lost during Covid pandemic is unveiled

Two years since the announcement of the first national lockdown, North Tyneside Council has unveiled its first area for reflection and contemplation.

By David Sedgwick
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 12:45 pm
North Tyneside Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn with young carers burying their time capsule.
North Tyneside Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn with young carers burying their time capsule.

Five lasting memorial areas are being created across North Tyneside to help people to remember and reflect upon the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Connected to the borough’s 30-mile wagonway network, the areas of reflection are places where people can visit to remember the loved ones that they tragically lost during the pandemic, as well as offering a space to reflect on the impact the pandemic had on us all.

All of the reflection areas are based around the theme of a compass, detailed in decorative hard landscaped paving, with seating provided and natural planting.

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North Tyneside Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn with young carers and Young Mayor (centre) at the unveiling of the first reflection area in North Tyneside.

The artwork in the centre of the compass is unique to the location where it is situated and has been chosen with help from local communities.

And on March 23, North Tyneside Elected Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE unveiled the first of the areas at Silverlink Biodiversity Park, with children from North Tyneside Young Carers Centre burying a time capsule.

Mrs Redfearn said: “I am delighted and incredibly proud to be opening the first of the reflection areas, particularly as they were created with help from our communities after residents asked for them.

"They’re a place for us to commemorate and remember those we have lost and reflect upon our shared experiences.

Mayor Norma Redfearn delivers a speech at the unveiling of the first reflection area in North Tyneside.

“We chose the compass design because the word compass combines two Latin words – ‘com’ which means together and ‘passus’ which means pace or step.

"Together they can be taken to mean ‘journey together’ which is something that communities in North Tyneside did throughout the pandemic and continue to do so.

“Our beautiful wagonways were very well used during the pandemic – and we want to continue to encourage people to continue to enjoy them for walking, cycling and wheeling – so locations linked with the wagonways seems a natural fit for the areas of reflection.

“I’d like to thank everyone who provided their views on the areas, and to the young carers for their brilliant time capsule.”

The time capsule contained items that were pertinent to the young people, aged between nine and ten, from the pandemic, such as face coverings, hand sanitiser and more.

Work is underway to create the other areas and they will be opened within the coming weeks. The locations and associated artwork include:

Silverlink Biodiversity Park – sundial design

Killingworth Lakeside Park – George Stephenson design

Redburn Dene Park (North Shields) – fishing design

Souter Park (Whitley Bay) – lighthouse design

Wallsend Hall grounds – shipbuilding design.

An Annual Report detailing North Tyneside’s journey through the Covid-19 pandemic has been released.

Wendy Burke, North Tyneside Director of Public Health said: “While there is no doubt about the direct impact of the virus and the devastating impact on the economy, poverty and inequalities, we have at the same time been left with a legacy of new ways of working, strong partnerships, community spirit and new relationships.

"This shone through throughout the pandemic, and I was pleased to detail this in my report.

“This report is not intended to be the end of our work, rather a reflection, helping us to learn lessons of what’s gone before and help us to respond in the future.”