Lives lost to coronavirus to be remembered in online memorial book

People who have lost loved ones to Covid-19 will be able to leave tributes in an online memorial book provided by Manchester Cathedral.

Bereaved families and friends are being invited to submit the name of the person they have lost, a photo and messages about them, as well as viewing other entries.

The memorial, a joint project between the cathedral and the Greater Manchester combined authority, will launch with a virtual interfaith service on July 16.

More than 2,800 people have died in hospitals across the city-region after contracting coronavirus, with many unable to organise funerals due to social distancing restrictions.

Reverend Rogers Govender, the Dean of Manchester, said: “The pandemic has taken the lives of so many who are dear to us and our communities. 

“So many people have lost their husbands, wives, partners, parents, grandparents, their family, their friends and their colleagues

“Worse still, we have not been able to provide normal funeral gatherings, so people have not been able to provide that comfort and sharing in loss that is a normal part of bereavement.

“This online memorial is a place to remember all those who have died as a result of the pandemic in Greater Manchester, those of all faiths and of none.”

The partnership was announced by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham at a meeting with fellow regional leaders on Friday.

Volunteers from Reason Digital will develop the memorial, with the combined authority expected to release more information in due course.

Mr Burnham said: “In the middle of a crisis that has affected tens of thousands of people it has sometimes been too easy to forget that every single person who died is mourned and has left behind family and friends in grief.

“As a community we wish to express our compassion and support for those who suffer loss, to remember the sorrows and sacrifices of others and express gratitude for the memories we treasure.

“The memorial will also offer the opportunity to pay particular tribute to the frontline health and social care staff who put themselves at risk and too often paid the ultimate price through their care for others. We will never forget what they did.”

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