Covid memorial park and stone plaque to be unveiled in Ilkley


Memorial stone plaque at Paradise Park

The official opening of a Covid memorial park will take place in Ilkley this weekend.


The Paradise Park Memorial Gardens will be opened and a memorial stone plaque will be unveiled at the ceremony on Sunday 3 July at 2pm in Riverside Memorial Gardens in Ilkley.


The area set aside for the new memorial is in a quiet area of the Bradford Council park near to the old bridge and has been planted daffodil bulbs and a cherry tree walk with a new path complementing the memorial stone.


A fundraising appeal was set up in March last year by local ward councillors, Anne Hawkesworth and Kyle Green, to raise money to install this permanent tribute to those who died in the area during the pandemic.


Money was also donated via Bradford Council’s Area Committee, with officers from the committee also providing support to the project.


Local business Moss and Moor Garden Centre in Ilkley donated the cherry trees and daffodil bulbs which were planted by the Friends of Ilkley Riverside Park.


Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “The pandemic was an incredibly challenging time and the work of a range of dedicated people and the funding support from local residents, businesses and via Bradford Council’s Area Committee, has meant that this Covid memorial and reflection area is now ready to be officially opened.”


Ilkley ward councillor, Councillor Anne Hawkesworth, said: “The original idea of the stone and improvements to this park was to put down a marker or threshold in history and the effect on many that Covid and the lockdown restrictions produced.”


Ilkley ward councillor, Councillor Kyle Green, added: “We believe this memorial garden provides a fitting location to remember and pay tribute to those who died as well as the many people who worked incredibly hard to help us get through the pandemic.”


Earlier this year Bradford Council carried out an initial consultation to give residents from across the district the chance to have their say on ways to commemorate the loss and sacrifices experienced by residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further consultation will take place and the feedback will be prepared so that recommendations on what memorials and events would best reflect what communities across the district would like to see.