Marking the impact of COVID on our community
20 November 2020
A working group, formed by members of the Town Council and local residents, has announced plans to recognise and commemorate the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on town life.
These plans include the installation of a Beacon of Hope, Light & Remembrance in the park and the creation of two ‘Lockdown Loops’ (new walking routes in and around Diss).
“We thought it was important to mark this historical time,” says Councillor Sonia Browne, Diss Town Mayor. “To remember those adversely affected by the virus, but also to remember the community spirit and generosity of our residents. There have been so many examples of kindness, communication and the community working together – the three themes I continue to promote throughout my second year of being mayor. And, while I know many people may be feeling tired or weathered, we must all try and continue to do our bit to help each other.”
A powerful symbol of light and hope
With funding from the Town Council, the Beacon of Hope will be installed at the highest point in the park. The position, with the church in the background, has been chosen to ensure maximum visibility across the town and will form the start and finish of the new walking routes
“We wanted to celebrate the good, and to remember all of those impacted by COVID-19, adds Cllr Browne. “We chose a beacon because, as well as being a powerful symbol of light and hope that would resonate with all of our communities, it’s also a very prominent feature that people would see when they’re out and about in town.”
Councillor Simon Olander, Council Leader says, “This beacon will be a permanent structure in the park, with one of the town’s most important assets, our Mere, providing a backdrop. I would like it to become a special place for local residents and our wider community to consider the impact of COVID on our lives. This challenging period has brought about positive changes such as increases in family time and regular exercise, a reduction in our carbon footprint and community cohesion. I would also like to see the beacon being used to commemorate future key events, potentially district-wide, and its park location lends itself well for this.”
Keep enjoying the outdoors
Starting and ending at the beacon, two new walking routes will be created around the town. The shorter, 1km trail will be fully inclusive and accessible to all - pushchairs, wheelchairs, mobility scooters and dogs - meaning the whole family can join in.
“COVID continues to challenge all corners of society, particularly during periods of lockdown when lifestyles rapidly and dramatically change,” says working party member, Charlotte Valori. “Exercise has become a lifeline to many of our residents, helping both with physical health and mental wellbeing. By creating ‘Lockdown Loops’ around the town, we can promote the importance of keeping active and living a healthier lifestyle whilst providing a fitting legacy of this challenging time for future generations.”
Dates for your diary
Installation of the Beacon of Hope is scheduled for the end of 2020. The Lockdown Loops will form phase two of the project. They will be ready by the spring, just in time for the warmer weather.