Trees planted to remember people who died of Covid in the East End

Covid-19 memorial planting at Victoria Park

Covid-19 memorial planting at Victoria Park - Credit: LBTH

Tree plantings to remember those who have died from Covid and to pay tribute to the community’s response to the emergency have started to take place in public parks across the East End. 

They began with NHS and other frontline staff gathering at Victoria Park on October 18, with the first tree put into the ground by Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs. 

“The pandemic is far from over,” he warned. “But it’s important to reflect on the impact of the virus and on the community response. 

“We see the best of the human spirit in the hardest times. I’m inspired by the way our community rallied and the support by so many to those in need.”

The gathering included Covid volunteers, Tower Hamlets Interfaith Forum members and MP Rushanara Ali sharing their personal stories of the pandemic and talking about their contribution to the response.

A memorial plaque was also unveiled outside the Victoria Park Hub.  

Tower Hamlets Remembers: Mayor digs while Cllr Peter Golds and MP Rushanara Ali join him at Victoria Park

Tower Hamlets Remembers: Mayor digs while Cllr Peter Golds and MP Rushanara Ali join him at Victoria Park - Credit: LBTH

Other tree plantings have taken place at Whitehorse Open Space on October 19 in Stepney and Langdon Park in Poplar, with a minute’s silence to mark the pandemic.

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This will be followed by a planting on the Isle of Dogs on Wednesday (October 20), at Millwall Park a 10am and at John McDougall Gardens at 1pm. 

Two plantings are planned on Thursday (October 21) at Alton Street Open Space in Mile End at 10am and Ravenscroft Park Gardens in Bethnal Green at 1pm.  

Another two on Friday (October 22) will be at Swedenborg Gardens in Whitechapel at 10am and at Meath Gardens in Bethnal Green at 1pm. 

St George’s Town Hall in Cable Street is being lit up in blue all week as well, along with the Queens' Building at Queen Mary University in Mile End, to remember those who have died.  

People are being invited to add their memories and experience of Covid-19 to Tower Hamlets Archive online project started in June last year, which closes at midnight on December 31.

They can also leave tributes on the council website to remember the lives of those lost in the pandemic.

Remembering those who passed away in the East End

Remembering those who passed away in the East End - Credit: LBTH