In a moving tribute to mark the first anniversary of its foundation the co-founders of HEART, the town’s Covid-19 community support group organisation, are calling for a living memorial to be established to remember the hundreds of residents and their families who have been tragically impacted by the pandemic.
Friends Alastair Fairley and Kim Batty set up the Hastings Emergency Action Resilience Team (HEART) in March 2020 to support people through lockdown.
The group grew rapidly with over 1,000 volunteers providing a huge range of practical help and support, from delivering food parcels to people in need to – now – free transport for people struggling to get to their vaccination centre.
But rather than celebrating a year of achievement HEART wants to honour local victims with a living memorial to ensure future crisis is avoided.
“The recognition we all need to do more for our communities has been one of the most amazing things to emerge from this pandemic,” explains Alastair, “But this is far from a celebration, it is a tragedy. We need to mark it accordingly, pay tribute and find ways to ensure this never happens again.”
Among the memorials proposed by the group could be a website where people could record the lives of victims and their families, a living woodland with trees planted in people’s memory, or agreement by authorities for a permanent support network to help people in crisis.
Kim Batty says: “HEART’s volunteers have worked tirelessly throughout this year helping people cope in so many ways. But this pandemic is far from over – locally or around the world. We must turn this crisis into hope for the future. A living memorial could be one small step in that.”
HEART is calling on members of the community to suggest their own ideas for a living memorial for the victims of Covid. People can visit HEART’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hastingsheartnews and join in the discussion. Ideas will then be compiled and proposals brought to the authorities for wider community backing.