Blossom Tree Garden opened in London as memorial for Covid-19 victims

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has opened a garden memorial dedicated to those who have lost their lives to Covid-19.

Thirty-three trees have been planted at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, to create the London Blossom Garden.

The project, set up in partnership with the National Trust, was created to pay respect to more than 19,000 Londoners who have died from coronavirus.

Mr Khan was joined by Hilary McGrady, director general of the National Trust, and key workers from the NHS, TFL and other frontline organisations at the opening ceremony on Monday.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan opens the London Blossom Garden
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan opens the London Blossom Garden (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The ceremony was hosted by Arit Anderson, who presents Gardeners’ World, while writer Jay Bernard recited poetry alongside a performance by the London International Gospel Choir.

The 33 trees represent all London boroughs and the City of London.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Khan said: “We started working with and listening to families with those who lost their lives some time ago to see what they wanted, in relation to recognising the loss of their loved ones and having something that could pay tribute to the sacrifices being made.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announces the opening of the Covid-19 memorial
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announces the opening of the Covid-19 memorial (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Local residents were consulted on the design of the garden, which was created by The Edible Bus Stop and Davies White Landscape Architects, with support from Bloomberg.

The opening of the memorial coincided with Mr Khan’s announcement about the first phase of The Recovery Bereavement Programme, which will offer support to Londoners and will begin with a public awareness campaign led by Thrive LDN.

Dr Jacqui Dyer MBE, mental health equalities adviser for NHS England and co-leader of Thrive LDN, said: “The launch of a citywide programme to support and strengthen London’s bereavement sector is crucial.

“We must work towards bereaved people having access to support that meets their particular needs, when they need it.”

Mr Khan added: “The new public garden is a place to join together to remember the more than 19,000 Londoners who have tragically died, to reflect on our own experiences of the pandemic and pay tribute to our key workers.”

Hilary McGrady, director general at the National Trust, said: “As the flagship site grows and becomes more established, we hope it will become a familiar place for people to witness some of nature’s spectacles.”