A NEW council-backed project to remember all those affected by COVID could get the go-ahead, if its fundraising target is met by Sunday (31 January).
Supported by Leicestershire County Council and Leicester City Council, the Watermead Memorial Walk would see some 58 trees planted and 16 benches installed to make a trail joining the north and south sides of the park.
As the deadline for the crowdfunding campaign looms, the project team is making a final plea to the people of Leicester and Leicestershire to help them raise the final £3,500 that's needed.
The initiative, which was launched at the beginning of December, has attracted more than 100 supporters so far, with many individuals and families making their pledges in memory of loved ones.
One person keen to support the project is Roo Peake, member of the Leicester Masaya Link Group.
“When one of our long-time trustees died of COVID in March, we wanted to celebrate his life," she said.
"Michael Gerard was a passionate musician, environmentalist and educator.
“When we heard about the opportunity to help contribute toward the Watermead Memorial Walk, we jumped at the chance: why have one tree when we can share a forest?
“Michael might not have a plaque with his name on but he is in our memories and when we walk around the Watermead Park, he will be in our thoughts for years to come."
Local businesses have been involved too, including Dunelm Soft Furnishings Ltd, Broxap, The Art Department and Fortem Solutions.
Janice Dunn, head of community at Dunelm Soft Furnishings Ltd, said: “At Dunelm, we’re always looking for ways we can help our local communities.
“When we were approached for support with the memorial walk, we were more than happy to donate 20 trees to the project.
“The memorial walk is such a lovely way to recognise the difficult times we currently find ourselves in and will provide a beautiful spot to remember all those affected by COVID-19.”
Mick Williamson, managing director at Fortem Solutions, said: “We are proud to support such a wonderful project which is not only beneficial to the environment but also to those in the local community.
“The challenges of 2020 have affected us all, which is why it’s so important to look back and reflect on how we worked together and supported each other in such uncertain times.”
The new tree-lined memorial trail, which will provide a space for reflection and remembrance for all those affected by coronavirus, will be maintained by the city and county councils, who have already pledged to cover the maintenance costs of the project.
The new trees would be planted in February and March 2021, with the interpretation boards expected to be installed in the spring.
More information about the Watermead Memorial Walk can be found on its fundraising page at www.spacehive.com/watermead-memorial-walk
People are invited to pledge as little as £2 by Sunday 31 January.
Donations will only be taken, if the campaign reaches its target by Sunday. So far, around £56,500 has been raised out the £60,000 required.