'We felt we needed to do something' - Covid memorial opens at Lothian cemetery
A Covid-19 memorial has been unveiled at West Lothian Crematorium, in Livingston, to honour those who died during the pandemic and the contribution of NHS key workers and communities.
The centrepiece is a polished black granite obelisk planted with wild flowers in the colours of the rainbow - a key symbol of hope and the NHS during the crisis.
The obelisk features three thistles with the one in the centre incorporating a rainbow., etched into the stone.
The memorial was officially launched on Tuesday by the Westerleigh Group, who runs the site and are the UK's largest independent owner and operator of crematoria and cemeteries with 35 sites across Scotland, England and Wales.
Just over a year ago, the company launched a competition inviting people of all ages to submit designs for the memorials to be located within gardens of remembrance for the group's six sites.
The Livingston winner was Poppy Lunn who entered the competition for a family friend diagnosed with Covid.
Roger Mclaughlan, chief executive officer for the Westerleigh Group, said the memorial would provide a peaceful place for people to reflect on the pandemic.
"I'm proud that our Covid-19 memorial is now open to the public.
"So many communities have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Sadly, many families have lost loved ones, and our thoughts and sincere condolences go to them, first and foremost.
"We felt we needed to do something not only to remember those who passed away but also to honour others who did so many positive and selfless acts to support people and bring communities closer together.
"These lasting memorials will provide a tranquil place for people to remember and reflect, where they can seek some comfort knowing that the legacy of those lost is not only being recognised but will be remembered for many generations to come."
Poppy, 11, from Galashiels, said she was "totally shocked" when she found out her design would be etched on three memorial obelisks - not only in West Lothian but also at sites in the Borders and Stirlingshire.
Describing her design Poppy said: "I have drawn three thistles. The middle one has a rainbow which represents the NHS and all they have done for us.
"The other thistles on each side are protecting the NHS, just like we tried to do."
Poppy's inspiration came from thinking not only about her family friend who had Covid but also some people she knew who work at Borders General Hospital.
She added: "I wanted to show how much I appreciated everything they have been doing.
"I was so happy when I found out I had won. I know it means a lot to my family, especially my nana."
Poppy will attending an unveiling ceremony at Borders Crematorium on August 11.