Sunderland Fans' Museum to create coronavirus memorial garden

Sunderland’s Fans Museum is to create a place for bereaved families to remember their loved ones claimed by coronavirus.

The museum, in Bridge Street North, has teamed up with Sunderland City Council and housing firm Gentoo to create a new memorial garden.

Gentoo chief executive Nigel Wilson and city council leader Coun Graeme Miller joined museum founder Michael Ganley and members of the museum team to launch the garden.

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The museum has also worked with the council to have the NHS rainbow dyed in the grass on its embankment overlooking one of the main approaches to the city centre.

The museum's NHS rainbow
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“We are going to create a memorial garden for all our families at this difficult time,” said Michael.

“We want somewhere that people can come and reflect about their loved ones after they have passed away, so I contacted Coun Miller and also Nigel from Gentoo.

“They both loved that idea that we wanted to create something like this, so we have been working with Gentoo and the council and they have been carrying out preparatory work, pulling out tree trunks and clearing the ground.

(from left) Gentoo's Nigel Wilson, Michael Ganley and Coun Graeme Miller, with members of the team

“In the next two or three weeks, we will be able to get things started, then we will be putting our design ideas for the garden out there.”

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For Michael, the garden is an extension of the work that the museum has been doing to support its local community through the coronavirus crisis.

“When a local gentleman passed away, we knew we had to do something so we decided to create the memorial garden. We will create a pebble garden and the pebbles will all be of a certain size so people whose loved ones have passed away will be able to write a special message on them.

“We want people to be able to come here, sit out with a cup of tea and just be able to relax and remember.”

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