The public is invited to the opening of a community memorial garden at Hadleigh Nursing Home at 1pm on June 30.
The garden in the Kingsley Healthcare run home in Friars Road, Hadleigh, is intended as a permanent tribute to townspeople who died in the pandemic.
Home manager Jan Seal said: “Please contact the home on 01473-372149 if you would like to come to the opening. We would be delighted to arrange transport for anyone unable to get here on their own.
“The garden is for the whole community and once it has been opened we would invite people to come along whenever they wish. There will be no need to book a visit unless you would like us to provide complimentary afternoon tea.”
Kingsley CEO Daya Thayan will introduce guests representing a cross-section of the community.
Jo Sheldrake, who has led a campaign for a memorial bench in Hadleigh, will be invited to unveil a plaque; Town Mayor Frank Minns will be invited to speak.
Guests will be offered Champagne and canapes and there will be music from a string quartet.
Data has shown Hadleigh was one of the worst hit communities in the country for Covid deaths and its care homes were badly affected.
Families connected to Hadleigh Nursing Home and other local care homes will be among the invitees.
The garden has a pergola with seating and tables as a central feature; trellis panels at the sides will allow roses and jasmine plants to climb and create a fragrant arch.
From the pergola, people can look out over a rockery and stone water feature.
There is log seating with the inscriptions: “As we sit we Remember” and “Let the sun shine through”.
Mrs Sheldrake, whose father Eric Mee was among the early victims of the pandemic, said: “I am sure the garden will be very much appreciated. People will love the setting and the peace and quiet.”
Jan Seal, manager at the Kingsley Healthcare run home, in Friars Road, said: “This memorial garden has brought to reality the wishes of my staff.
“The height of the Covid pandemic was a really awful time. A lot of my staff are quite young and it was almost too much for them. However, in the end it brought us all together and made us stronger as a team.”
Author: Stephen Pullinger