The Mayor of Lewisham has planted a blossom tree to commemorate the almost 600 Lewisham residents who have lost their lives to Covid-19.  

The tree was planted in the Therapeutic Garden at St Mary’s Church last month as a “living memorial that anybody can visit to reflect on the lives of those who have passed and the long-lasting impact of the pandemic”.  

The Therapeutic Garden, funded by Lewisham Council, was first opened in 2017 as a joint project between St Mary’s Church and the Ladywell Unit at Lewisham Hospital to promote mental wellbeing through gardening.   

During the tree planting ceremony Mayor Damien Egan said: “We are planting this tree today to recognise the devastating impact that coronavirus has had on our community.  

“The Therapeutic Garden is a symbolic place to host this memorial as it is just a stone’s throw away from Lewisham Hospital, where so many people have battled against the virus.  

“Our NHS staff have worked tirelessly to care for residents, but sadly almost 600 people have died in Lewisham.  

“One of the many things this pandemic has reinforced is the importance of nature and the outdoors to our wellbeing.  

“It is my hope that people can visit this garden and the blossom tree and find comfort that this has been a shared experience.  

“This tree is a tribute to our NHS staff and to all our key workers, community and faith leaders, and volunteers who have been so crucial in the past year.” 

Father Steve Hall of St Mary’s Church, Shakeel Begg from Lewisham Islamic Centre, Gerald Rose from Catford and Bromley Synagogue, as well as incoming deputy mayor Cllr Brenda Dacres all spoke at the ceremony, followed by a minute’s silence.  

Ben Travis, chief executive of Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust said: “This tree is a tribute not only to the thousands of lives that have been lost, but also to our NHS staff and to all of our key workers, who have been so crucial in the past year.”  

Cllr Brenda Dacres, incoming Deputy Mayor of Lewisham said: “It is important that people in Lewisham have a place to visit to think about friends and family members who have passed during the pandemic.  

“In the past year, we’ve all recognised the benefits of reconnecting with nature and the outdoors to improving our wellbeing, so the location is very fitting.” 

The Mayor of London opened a public garden of 33 blossom trees on Monday (May 24), one for each London borough and the City of London, at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to commemorate Londoners who have lost their lives during the pandemic.