Two specially-designed benches have been installed as part of a council initiative to remember those who lost their lives during the pandemic. They were unveiled today, on the UK National Day of Reflection, which marks the third anniversary of the first Covid-19 lockdown.

Both seats, which were designed in-house by the council, are made of black powder-coated steel. They have laser-cut imagery embossed on the back plates along with the wording: remembering all those we lost throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. One bench will be sited in Dundonald’s Moat Park and the other at Lagan Valley Island in Lisburn.

Their installation follows discussions that first took place in July 2020 at Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council. The council considered a number of commemorative options, following proposals put forward by Alderman Paul Porter for an appropriate and lasting memorial.

A consultation exercise was carried out on the plan to develop a reflective space with planting and a bespoke bench - and then agreed by council Members. An online ‘book of memories’ has also been opened by the council which can be accessed via a QR code on the bench. This will give visitors the opportunity to record the names of loved ones who died during Covid, along with messages and tributes. 

The Right Worshipful the Mayor, Councillor Scott Carson said: “As a result of coronavirus, people from all walks of life had to say goodbye to loved ones. We are very sensitive to those people in our community who lost friends and family members and are still grieving their loss.” 

Chair of LCCC’s Corporate Services Committee, Councillor Stuart Hughes said: “We wanted to provide somewhere they could go to sit and take time to reflect and remember – and we hope that these two special spaces will allow them to do that.”

Alderman Paul Porter said, “One of the benches is close to the Ulster Hospital – which is very fitting. These memorials also pay tribute to those in the medical and emergency services and the charity sector which supported patients and families through a very traumatic time.”

The benches were unveiled by the Mayor, Councillor Scott Carson and the initiative’s proposer, Alderman Paul Porter, as well as representatives from the Ulster and Lagan Valley hospitals and end- of-life charity, Marie Curie.

If you'd like to pay tribute to the loved ones you have lost during the pandemic, go to our online book of memories here.