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Approval given for tribute to Derbyshire's coronavirus victims

Grassmoor Country Park near Chesterfield. Image: Derbyshire County Council.

Proposals for a memorial park to remember and honour local people who died from Covid-19 have been given the go-ahead by Derbyshire County Council.

Councillors approved plans for the park on a meadow grassland site at the northern end of Grassmoor Country Park near Chesterfield at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday (9 September).

The site has been chosen by the county council with the support of the Friends of Grassmoor Country Park.  

Councillor Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire County Council, said: “There are plans for a national memorial to remember those who have died during the pandemic and we welcome that proposal, but we also thought it appropriate to create a memorial accessible to the people of Derbyshire.

“This area of park land will provide a beautiful space and a living memorial to the people of Derbyshire who died. It will also recognise the work of the NHS, front line staff and key workers in support of Derbyshire’s communities during such a challenging time. 

“Our aim is to provide a welcoming and tranquil space for residents from all over our county to visit, to walk, to sit quietly and to remember lost loved ones and friends for years to come.” 

The county council say the memorial park will be designed in keeping with the local landscape and will feature a native wildflower meadow leading to an area planted with trees including Wild Cherry, Rowan, Scots Pine, Hazel, Birch, Dogwood, Oak, Yew, Wych Elm and Alder Buckthorn.

These trees have been selected to give displays of blossom in the spring and fruit for birds and other wildlife in the summer and autumn and will be complemented by smaller, native shrub species. 

A walkway to a memorial feature is also proposed for the site which will be made accessible to all. Visitors will also be able to explore beyond the memorial park to a reclaimed part of the country park offering panoramic views over Chesterfield and North Derbyshire.

Work on the first phase of the park is expected to start later this autumn with help from the local community.

Further work to install seating to provide an area for quiet contemplation overlooking the park as it matures will follow in the second phase of the project, when wildflowers would be seeded and information boards provided. 

As the site grows and evolves over coming years, it will provide a living, growing space that will develop into an area for quiet reflection and remembrance in the future.

Friends of Grassmoor Country Park have agreed to help the county council with the planting and maintenance of the memorial park, which will contribute to the county council’s target of planting a million trees by 2030. 

Grassmoor Country Park is a popular country park that was developed on a reclaimed colliery site. It is easily accessible from Junction 29 of the M1 and the A617 and can be visited by bus.

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