Five memorial areas are being created to help people to remember and reflect on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic - the first of which opened at Silverlink Biodiversity Park on 23 March 2022, two years to the day since the announcement of the first national lockdown. The four remaining sites will opened officially on 18 July 2022.
The sentiment behind them
The areas of reflection and contemplation are places where people can visit to remember the loved ones that they tragically lost during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as offering a space to reflect on the impact that the pandemic had on us all and remember the ways in which people came together to support one another.
The design of the sites
All of the reflection areas will be based around the theme of a compass, detailed in decorative hard landscaped paving, with seating provided and natural planting as places to sit and reflect.
The compass design was chosen because the word compass combines two Latin words – ‘com’ which means together and ‘passus’ which means pace or step. Together they can be taken to mean ‘journey together’ which is something that communities in North Tyneside have done throughout the pandemic and continue to do so.
Locations of the sites
There are five areas of reflection, including Killingworth Lakeside Park, Churchill Playing Fields, Wallsend Hall grounds and Redburn Dene Park, as well as Silverlink Biodiversity Park. All of the areas are linked to the wagonways, so you can walk/cycle between them all. Maps to help you navigate around them are available by the link below.
The compass in each location has a unique design as a centrepiece, that represents the local area, which were chosen by residents of North Tyneside, including:
- Killingworth Lakeside Park – George Stephenson
- Redburn Dene Park (North Shields) – fishing
- Souter Park (Whitley Bay) – lighthouse
- Wallsend Hall grounds – shipbuilding
The one at Silverlink Biodiversity Park features a sun to complement the existing sundial in the park.
North Tyneside Council has created the spaces with the help from the local community and local businesses.
Health and wellbeing benefits (including maps to each site)
All of the areas are linked to the borough’s 30-mile wagonways, so you can walk/cycle/wheel between one or all of them.
Sites that link with the waggonways were chosen after they were so well used by the public during the pandemic, and we would really like to encourage people to get out and about exploring the routes and each reflection space. It’s a great day out and has many benefits for both your health and your wellbeing, whilst also providing resting places for quiet contemplation.
To help to do so, we have produced maps so that cyclists, walkers and wheelchair users can easily navigate their way between the sites. The distances vary in distance, depending how far you want to go, although each reflection area to the central compass at Silverlink Biodiversity Park are between 3-3.5 miles-long. The maps can be found below.
As you rest, remember and reflect you may wish to share your thoughts, memories, hopes and prayers with us. A prayer box is located by the compass within the grounds of Wallsend Hall. This will be emptied by members of the different faith groups in North Tyneside and where you identify that you would like a prayer said they will arrange for this to happen. This is an initiative that has been led by the Church of the Good Shepherd, Battle Hill, and includes religious organisations from across different faiths in North Tyneside.
Director of Public Health’s Annual report
March 23 also saw the publication of the Director of Public Health’s Annual Report which details North Tyneside’s journey through the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 to 2022.