The co-founders of Hastings Emergency Action Resilience Team (HEART), are calling for a living memorial to remember the hundreds of residents and their families who have been tragically impacted by the pandemic.

Friends Alastair Fairley and Kim Batty set up HEART in March 2020 to help support people through lockdown. The group grew rapidly to include over 1,000 volunteers providing a large range of practical help and support, from delivering food parcels to people in need to, now, free transport for people struggling to get to their vaccination centre. 

“The recognition we all need to do more for our communities has been one of the most amazing things to emerge from this pandemic,” explains Alastair. But rather than celebrating a year of achievement, he and his co-founder are suggesting we should honour local victims with a living memorial: to mark what happened in an appropriate way, to pay tribute, and to “find ways to ensure this never happens again”. 

Among the memorials proposed are a website where people can record the lives of victims and their families, a woodland with trees planted in people’s memory, or an agreement by authorities for a permanent support network to help people in crisis.

Kim Batty adds: “This pandemic is far from over – locally or around the world. We must turn this crisis into hope for the future. A living memorial could be one small step in that.”

HEART is calling on members of the community to suggest their own ideas for a living memorial. You can join the discussion on HEART’s Facebook page at Ideas will be compiled and proposals brought to the authorities for wider community backing.

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